The Town of Hanover, Mass., has received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for its municipal drone program, according to an announcement from the Association of Professional Drone Pilots, which worked with the town to get the approval.
Through an extensive training and application process, the town received an FAA Certificate of Authorization to legally operate its drone in town.
The association says Hanover has licensed and trained pilots to operate its unmanned aircraft system (UAS); this includes representatives of the police and fire departments, as well as Hanover Community Television.
Founded in 1727, Hanover, located in Plymouth, has a population of roughly 14,000, according to the town’s website.
Scott Pitta, president of the Association of Professional Drone Pilots, notes that this approval is an “important achievement” and says, “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.”
Fire Chief Jeffrey Blanchard, recently licensed as one of Hanover’s UAS pilots, concurs: “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.”
Six Hanover employees have taken the initial training required for licensure, and more are expected to be trained, says the association. The town is also developing a protocol for deployment.
Notably, because existing staff operate the drones, there are no additional costs to the town, the association adds.
“The approval of our drone program is just another way we’re bringing efficiency, technology and collaboration to our citizens,” adds Troy Clarkson, town manager.
Hanover Community Television will soon be releasing a short documentary on the town’s drone program.