KS selected as test state for long-distance drone flights

August 22, 2019 - 5:35 am
Drone inspecting power lines

State officials say Kansas will be the first state to test out federally approved long-distance drone flights.  According to the Kansas Department of Transportation, the state’s test program will start outside of Salina using drones to inspect power lines. 

The Federal Aviation Administration agreed that Kansas can fly the drones much farther than normal and out of sight of the operator. Bob Brock, with KDOT, says drones can inspect lines more quickly.

"Send an aircraft down those power lines and give them a careful inspection," said Brock.  "Insures that reliability, but also does a tremendous job of reducing the cost of those inspections."

Brock also says this type of long-distance drone use could in the future help with search-and-rescue operations or help Kansas farmers and ranchers monitor crops and livestock. The test program runs through late 2020.  

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