Local officials in Colorado are taking credit for the grounding of a drone whose operators volunteered with disaster relief operations in the flooded area.
Colorado drone manufacturer Falcon UAV recently accused the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) of threatening to arrest anyone flying a drone during relief operations.
Falcon UAV, cleared by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to fly the drone in certain parts of Colorado, had been helping local authorities map the disaster relief area before it says it received the order. The FAA regulates the national airspace, including drone flights. It turns out, however, that the order to ground Falcon UAV did not come from the federal level, but the local level.
“I told them to cease-and-desist by order of the sheriff and the incident commander,” Allen Bishop, a Boulder County sheriff’s reserve volunteer and an “amateur radio operator and a nationally-recognized expert on drones,” told the Denver Post.
The Denver Post reported that Bishop also grounded a drone company from Boulder as well that was helping with relief operations. 9news.com also reported that Boulder County emergency managers, not FEMA, grounded the drone.
A Boulder County emergency manager said that “local emergency managers grounded the drone out of concern that it could collide with helicopters being used to evacuate residents.”