| Organizations That Have Sought to Use Drones!


Organizations That Have Sought to Use Drones ~ The Wall Street Journal.

Drone Use Takes Off on the Home Front.

Police departments and universities nationwide have obtained licenses from the FAA to use drones, according to data obtained via Freedom of Information Act requests by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an advocacy group. See a list of what groups have requested licenses, and the status of that request. Click on column headers to sort.

U.S. Air Force
Active
Arlington (Texas) Police Department
Active
U.S. Army
Active
Expired
City of Herington, Kan.
Active
Expired
City of North Little Rock, Ark., Police Department
Active
Cornell University
Expired
Active
DHS (Department of Homeland Security) / CBP (Customs and Border Protection)
Active
DHS (Department of Homeland Security) / Science and Technology
Active
DOE (Department of Energy) – Idaho National Laboratory
Active
DOE (Department of Energy) – National Energy Technology Laboratory
Expired
Department of Agriculture – US Forest Service
Disapproved
Department of Agriculture – US Forest Service
Expired
Department of Agriculture – Agricultural Research Service
Disapproved
Department of Agriculture – Agricultural Research Service
Active
Department of the Interior – National Business Center/Aviation Management Directorate (NBC/AMD)
Active
DOJ (Department of Justice) – Queen Anne’s County Office of the Sheriff (State unknown)
Expired
Active
Active
Gadsden Police Department (State unknown)
Active
Georgia Tech Police Department, Office of Emergency Preparedness
Disapproved
Georgia Tech Research Institute
Active
Hays County Emergency Service Office (State unknown)
Expired
Kansas State University
Active
Mesa County (Colo.) Sheriff’s Office
Active
Active
Middle Tennessee State University
Active
Mississippi Department of Marine Resources
Active
Mississippi State University
Active
Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office (State unknown)
Expired
Active
U.S. Navy
Active
New Mexico Tech
Active
New Mexico State University Physical Sciences Laboratory (NMSU-PSL)
Active
Expired
Expired
Ogden (Utah) Police Department
Active
Ohio University
Active
Orange County Sheriff’s Office (State unknown)
Active
Otter Tail County (State unknown)
Disapproved
Polk County Sheriff’s Office (State unknown)
Active
Seattle Police Department
Active
Texas A&M University Corpus Christi
Active
Texas A&M University – TEES (Texas Engineering Experiment Station)
Active
Texas Department of Public Safety
Expired
Texas State University
Active
University of Alaska Fairbanks
Active
University of Arizona
Expired
University of Colorado
Active
University of Connecticut
Active
University of Florida
Active
University of Michigan
Expired
University of North Dakota
Active
University of Wisconsin
Expired
USMC (United States Marine Corps)
Active
Utah State University
Active
Virginia Commonwealth University
Expired
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Active
Washington State Department of Transportation
Expired
_______________________________

*ALSO SEE:

FAA Releases Lists of Drone Certificates—Many Questions Left Unanswered ~ JENNIFER LYNCHElectronic Frontier Foundation.

 

View Map of Domestic Drone Authorizations in a larger map

This week the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) finally released its first round of records in response to EFF’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit for information on the agency’s drone authorization program. The agency says the two lists it released include the names of all public and private entities that have applied for authorizations to fly drones domestically. These lists—which include the Certificates of Authorizations (COAs), issued to public entities like police departments, and the Special Airworthiness Certificates (SACs), issued to private drone manufacturers—show for the first time who is authorized to fly drones in the United States.

Some of the entities on the COA list are unsurprising. For example, journalists have reported that Customs and Border Protection uses Predator drones to patrol the borders. It is also well known that DARPA and other branches of the military are authorized to fly drones in the US. However, this is the first time we have seen the broad and varied list of other authorized organizations, including universities, police departments, and small towns and counties across the United States. The COA list includes universities and colleges like Cornell, the University of ColoradoGeorgia Tech, and Eastern Gateway Community College, as well as police departments in North Little Rock, ArkansasArlington, TexasSeattle, WashingtonGadsden, Alabama; and Ogden, Utah, to name just a few. The COA list also includes small cities and counties like Otter Tail, Minnesota and Herington, Kansas. The Google map linked above plots out the locations we were able to determine from the lists, and is color coded by whether the authorizations are active, expired or disapproved.

The second list we received includes all the manufacturers that have applied for authorizations to test-fly their drones. This list is less surprising and includes manufacturers like Honeywell, the maker of Miami-Dade’s T-Hawk drone; the huge defense contractor Raytheon; and General Atomics, the manufacturer of the Predator drone. This list also includes registration or “N” numbers,” serial numbers and model names, so it could be useful for determining when and where these drones are flying.

Unfortunately, these lists leave many questions unanswered. For example, the COA list does not include any information on which model of drone or how many drones each entity flies. In a meeting with the FAA today, the agency confirmed that there were about 300 active COAs and that the agency has issued about 700-750 authorizations since the program began in 2006. As there are only about 60 entities on the COA list, this means that many of the entities, if not all of them, have multiple COAs (for example, an FAA representative today said thatUniversity of Colorado may have had as many as 100 different COAs over the last six years). The list also does not explain why certain COA applications were “disapproved” and when other authorizations expired.

We raised these questions in our meeting with the FAA today and were assured the agency will release additional records with this important information soon. As we have written before and as Congressmen Markey and Barton (pdf) stated in their letter to the FAA today, drones pose serious implications for privacy, and the public should have all the information necessary to engage in informed debate over the incorporation of these devices into our daily lives.  However, while we wait for additional information, these lists help to flesh out the picture of domestic drone use in the United States.

List of All Certificates of Authorizations (COAs) Issued to Public Entities

List of All Special Airworthiness Certificates issued to Private Entities

Related Cases

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