At last! The Federal Aviation Administration has made two statements after a week of reports of unidentified giant drones flying in formation through parts of northeastern Colorado and across the border into Nebraska, with several eyewitness accounts from law enforcement agencies. Next, a proposed rule change was released by the government requiring most drones to be remotely easily identifiable. Second, in a concerted effort to identify the owner and their intent, the FAA announced that it is collaborating with law enforcement in the five counties reporting the giant drones. Great news or not too late?
“It was too low to the ground to be a plane, and it seemed way too close to the house to be out in space, like a satellite. It was definitely within driving range, for sure. You could see that it was rotating. You could see things sticking off to the sides. It was crazy.”
The Denver Post interviewed Jennifer Rollins who, while visiting her parents in Colorado’s Yuma County–ground zero for these drone sightings, filmed what seems to be one of the first reported videos of nighttime drones (see it here). Her sighting came a day after it was announced by the Denver Post that she had received an email from FAA spokesman Ian Gregor to Reuters detailing the latest drone detection rule change. The regulation will be open to public comment for 60 days and the debate is expected to be intense, with almost 1,5 million drones and 160,000 remote pilots currently registered with the FAA and more coming to play with their Christmas presents as excited new owners.
Although officials continue to publicly say that the giant drones in Colorado do not seem to be “malicious,” the U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, who lives in Yuma and is a member of the Aviation and Space Subcommittee on Senate Commerce, says he is closely monitoring the situation and is “encouraged to open a full investigation to learn about the drones ‘ source and intent. We’ is the FAA that will meet on January 6 with Yuma County Sheriff Todd Combs and other offices of the sheriff and police departments. Combs says the following:
“Hopefully this meeting will provide some answers, or at least aid in the development of a plan to identify who is in control of the drones.”