UAVs

FAA regs render Forest Service drones flightless

SkySeer UAV

U.S. Forest Service purchased two drones in 2007, but reportedly have yet to get them off the ground.

Two drones purchased six years ago by the U.S. Forest Service for $100,000 have yet to be used, according to documents released by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility.

The drones, purchased in 2007 to monitor marijuana growers, have not been able to scope out cannabis fields or perform other duties because the Forest Service lacks both trained pilots and Federal Aviation Administration clearance, according to PEER, which obtained the documents via a Freedom of Information Act request.

The idea of using the drones to spot marijuana was abandoned in 2010, when the agency decided to use the aircraft for its Fire and Aviation program --but it has not yet been able to deploy the craft for that purpose, either. An FAA rule requiring that drones be in visual range of the remote pilot at all times makes their use for such activities problematic.

"The fire program has been tinkering with pilotless aircraft since 2005 when it spent $10,560 on a Cyber Bug drone to begin developing command and control capacity in fast-moving fires," according to a PEER press release. "The FAA, however, is still working on rules to open unrestricted airspace to commercial and institutional drone traffic."

About the Author

Reid Davenport is an FCW editorial fellow. Connect with him on Twitter: @ReidDavenport.

Featured

  • Cybersecurity

    DHS floats 'collective defense' model for cybersecurity

    Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen wants her department to have a more direct role in defending the private sector and critical infrastructure entities from cyberthreats.

  • Defense
    Defense Secretary James Mattis testifies at an April 12 hearing of the House Armed Services Committee.

    Mattis: Cloud deal not tailored for Amazon

    On Capitol Hill, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis sought to quell "rumors" that the Pentagon's planned single-award cloud acquisition was designed with Amazon Web Services in mind.

  • Census
    shutterstock image

    2020 Census to include citizenship question

    The Department of Commerce is breaking with recent practice and restoring a question about respondent citizenship last used in 1950, despite being urged not to by former Census directors and outside experts.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.