APD Seeking FAA Authorization for sUAS (Press Release)

by Police Administration, Friday, April 15, 2016, 10:01 (1044 days ago)

On April 14, 2016, the Abilene Police Department submitted an application to the Federal Aviation Administration seeking authorization to operate a small unmanned aerial system. A Certificate of Authorization (COA) is required to operate a sUAS in the National Airspace System. Additionally, operators of a sUAS must have a pilot’s license. APD has two officers on staff that are already licensed pilots.

Should the authorization be granted, APD will operate a DJI Phantom III Professional sUAS. This is an off the shelf system, purchased locally, that will be utilized in a incident driven manner such as missing persons investigations, outdoor crime scene photography, fatality accident photography, SWAT situations, outdoor bomb calls, etc. The system will also be utilized to assist the Abilene Fire Department for wildland fire reconnaissance and hazmat situations. APD will also utilize the sUAS with the Abilene Lake Patrol in water recoveries.

The DJI Phantom III weighs 2.5 pounds, is capable of a 35 mph forward speed and can operate for approximately 20 minutes on a single charge. It is not capable of long term flight. It has a real time 4k camera on-board that transmits a signal back to the operator which can then be viewed by an incident commander. APD will not operate the sUAS at altitude higher than 400 feet. Operationally we expect the system to allow ½ to ¾ of mile range from the operator (line of sight). An observer is also required to operate a sUAS. The observer is required to keep the sUAS in sight during operations.

We expect this tool to enhance the safety of first responders across a multitude of incidents.

Sgt. Lynn Beard
Public Information

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