drones

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Powell High School students and teachers say they might have a solution to prevent irrigation tunnel collapse like the one in Goshen County over the summer.

Using Drones To Fight Climate Change

Sep 13, 2019

From more intense wildfires to prolonged droughts, climate change is impacting the ecology of the American West. That’s got researchers in our region looking at a new way to fight some of these impacts: drones.

These days, drones are everywhere--from the ones you can buy at your local Costco to news drones giving birds' eye views of sporting events. Soon, you'll even be able to get your Amazon deliveries with the company's "Prime Air" drone fleet.

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The city of Laramie is a growing technology center in the state, according to the Wyoming Technology Business Center. In 2005, Laramie only had 16 tech companies but now has 85, and they expect to see 100 tech businesses in Laramie by the end of the year.

The Laramie Regional Airport could become the nation’s second private drone hub. The airport is partnering with Infinity Development Partners to bring the growing industry to Wyoming.

Fires are burning in Colorado, Utah and there’s fire danger in other parts of the Mountain West. Now three U.S. Congressmen from Colorado have introduced legislation that would make it a felony to fly a drone over a wildfire. Drones can make fighting fires more difficult and put lives at risk.

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Last week, a Washington D.C. resident was fined by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for using his drone to fly over a large herd of elk in hopes of getting up-close photographs. The drone caused the herd to bolt and run about a half mile on the National Elk Refuge near Jackson.

Elk Refuge spokeswoman Lori Iverson said with so much snow this winter, it’s already been a hard year for wildlife and the drone caused the elk extra stress. Iverson said it’s important for drone operators to educate themselves on the policies of any agency where they plan to fly.

Tom Rullman

Large drones may soon be flying in and out of the Powell Municipal Airport. The state of Wyoming might help with the cost of a drone manufacturing plant there. If so, it will be one of the first public airports in the nation to allow drones and manned aircraft in the same airspace.

Powell’s Municipal airport, on the top of Polecat Bench, is relatively quiet much of the time.

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The University of Wyoming will host a two-day symposium on drones, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles or UAVs, this Tuesday and Wednesday.

Jeff Hamerlinck is the director of UW’s Geographic Information Science Center. He says the symposium will be the first of its kind and he is hoping it will be an opportunity to raise awareness in the state about drones. Hamerlinck says drones’ data-collecting abilities are unmatched. The data collection is timelier, the quality of the data is much higher, and the cost of drones is relatively affordable.

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The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission has approved a new regulation that will restrict the use of aircrafts or drones during hunting season.  

Mike Choma is the Law Enforcement Supervisor for the Wyoming Game and Fish. He says “fair chase” means something different to everyone. In Wyoming, that definition now excludes using an aircraft or drone with the intention to spot, locate and aid in the taking of wildlife. The new regulation came after an increase in public concern and a number of complaints received by the department.

A Wyoming legislative committee has voted to support a bill that would require law enforcement to get warrants to use drones to gather evidence in criminal cases. The Wyoming Liberty Group and Wyoming ACLU are both strong supporters of the bill. ACLU Director Linda Burt said restrictions are appropriate.

“These can be very intrusive means of searches with drones, they can be very small, and they can go into your homes without your knowledge, so we think it’s very important that there should be a warrant for any searches with drones.”

Andreina Schoeberlein via flickr

Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park have seen a growing number of people operating personal drones inside park territory.

Last week someone crashed their drone into Yellowstone's Grand Prismatic Hot Spring. Park spokesperson Al Nash says the park has struggled to recover the device.

“So far we haven’t been able to spot it. We are actually considering flying an authorized manned helicopter over it to see if we can spot it from the air.”

Last week an employee of Grand Teton issued a citation for drone use, a first for that park.

Wyoming still looking into testing Drones

Sep 5, 2013

Wyoming continues to be interested in being a test site for the possible domestic use of drones. 

During a news conference this week, Governor Matt Mead said that Drones are already being tested at Camp Guernsey and he’s excited about the technology aspect of the testing.  But Mead is a little more concerned about some legal issues surrounding Drones.           

“We wanna make sure in the state of Wyoming, what are the privacy rights?  How are these things going to be used?”