Airport board backs Longmont drone builder

LONGMONT – The Longmont City Council will vote Tuesday on whether to let a Longmont company build drones at city-owned Vance Brand Municipal Airport.

The city’s airport advisory board voted 6-0 on Thursday to recommend to the council that Iron Ridge UAS be allowed to sub-lease space at the airport to build the battery-operated “unmanned aerial systems,” which can fly for a maximum of two hours and carry no more than 12 pounds.

The board’s vote also recommends that an agreement be made with the Federal Aviation Administration that would let Iron Ridge’s drones be used by the city for limited and specific operations – agreed upon in advance – such as search-and-rescue missions or other emergency duties. Without that agreement, the drones could only fly a maximum of 400 feet above the ground – the same rules that apply to model airplanes.

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