HANOVER, Mass., (FNN NEWS) — The Town of Hanover has received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for its drone program, the first municipality in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to have licensed pilots and a FAA approved Air Wing for municipal operation of its unmanned aircraft.
Working in consultation with the Association of Professional Drone Pilots, the town has licensed and trained pilots to operate its unmanned aircraft, including representatives of the Police and Fire departments, as well as Hanover Community Television. Through an extensive training and application process, the town has received a Certificate of Authorization to legally operate its drone in town.
“This is an important achievement. Hanover is a leader in the use of unmanned aircraft. They understand that the use of drones can help fight fires, find missing children, and even provide information through Hanover’s extensive community outreach channels,” said Scott Pitta, President of the Association of Professional Drone Pilots.
Fire Chief Jeffrey Blanchard, recently licensed as one of Hanover’s drone pilots, concurred. “The public safety value of a well-defined drone program is immeasurable. We can safely scout out forest fires and inspect tall buildings without putting our firefighters in harm’s way. We are proud to be a leader in this important area,” he noted.
Six Hanover employees have taken the initial training required for licensure, and more are expected to be trained. The Town is developing a protocol for deployment. Since existing staff operate the drones, there are no additional costs to the town.
“Hanover is a leader in many areas – from transparency to financial organization and stability, to its commitment to education. The approval of our drone program is just another way we’re bringing efficiency, technology, and collaboration to our citizens,” explained Town Manager Troy Clarkson.
Hanover Community TV is working on a short documentary on the drone program that will be released soon.