KNOTT/ PERRY COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) – City officials, educators and other organizers unveiled a new drone port Friday off County Road 1390 on the Knott/ Perry County line.
The port comes after more than a year of discussing what to do with the amount of open air space across Eastern Kentucky.
“For the first time it was good to be rural America. It was good to not have large housing areas. It was good not to have some major roads. It was good that our air space wasn’t being used,” said Perry County Judge Executive Scott Alexander.
Organizer and Director of USA Drone Port Bart Massy told WYMT Eastern Kentucky has Class G airspace. This means drones can be flown without having to get Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval, given all general guidelines are followed.
Massy said this space is a great opportunity for the region to take advantage of the new technology. After the unveiling ceremony, he invited various fire departments for a simulation search and rescue using drones.
During the day rescue teams communicated back to the command center where drones were being flown and cameras attached to them allowed command to see the area in more detail than those on the ground.
“They actually give us a location of where the victim was. The drone will kind of hover over where that person’s at. We can see the drone because we are looking up at the sky and we just went straight to him,” said Avawam firefighter Gary Oliver.
Oliver said he knows the use of drones during rescue missions would help on response time.
“If we are out there trying to conduct a search on foot, and drive around, and drive around, and drive around, versus them saying he’s here, you know it could cut your time down by hours,” Oliver said.
Oliver told WYMT he hopes departments will be able to implement drones into their work days, but until then they will be able to take advantage of the resources provided by the drone port.
Massy and Alexander said they are working to receive grant money which will help them build an indoor drone facility within the next coming years. [Click for More]