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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

FAA Documents Reveal Drone Use in Medina And Elsewhere In Region

Posted By on Wed, Feb 13, 2013 at 7:24 AM

No, there are no armed Predator drones in Northeast Ohio. But unmanned aircraft are starting to make appearances through local agencies and organizations.
  • No, there are no armed Predator drones in Northeast Ohio. But the unmanned aircraft are starting to make appearances through local agencies and organizations.
The Federal Aviation Administration released documents earlier this month that reveal drone authorization approved for the Medina County Sheriff's Office, Lorain County Community College, the Ohio Department of Transportation and other area institutions and offices.

But don't expect much action on that front anytime soon. While Scene is awaiting contract information and detailed plans from the agencies, typical civilian drones clock in around one or two pounds and serve training purposes (via law enforcement) or studying purposes (colleges and universities).

The local agencies join a total list of 81 nationwide groups in nearly every state that have received approval from the FAA to fly drones - otherwise known as unmanned aircraft. With recently released news of the U.S. government's policy on targeting American citizens with drone strikes, the devices have garnered a bright spotlight in recent weeks. And with the headlines come widespread concern for privacy.

No Drones Ohio, a burgeoning group dedicated to the outright prohibition of the technology in the state, is working to garner members from Dayton to Columbus and beyond. Dayton, in particular, and Wright Patterson Air Force Base and Sinclair Community College have attracted a great deal of drone attention in recent years.

The image of slightly buzzed college students getting their drone on and flying the machines is enough to bring out both a little laughter and a lot of concern. And even though most civilian drone use actually encompasses tiny aircraft used to carry out various tasks (crop dusting, fire fighting, building inspection and plenty more), there is a growing sense of curiosity, if not outright concern.

It's the matter of precedent and expansion that has privacy advocates fretting.

Requests for details and contracts from the Medina County Sheriff's Office and ODOT have not yet been answered.

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