Brandi Jewett is a reporter for the Grand Forks Herald with beats focusing on northwest Minnesota, unmanned aircraft systems and East Grand Forks city government. A native of Valley City, N.D., 26 years worth of winters haven't scared her out of the state yet. Follow her work at grandforksherald.com, on her blog at droningon.areavoices.com and on Twitter and Instagram: @brandijewett. Send tips and story ideas to email@example.com.
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Creating connections between local businesses and the growing drone industry in Grand Forks is the driving force behind a new monthly lunch series launching this week. For several years, the city and North Dakota as a whole have garnered a reputation for being a hub for unmanned aircraft systems activity and event organizers say they want to continue building on that foundation.
KITTSON COUNTY, Minn. — More than 75,000 acres comprise the Roseau River Wildlife Management Area, but each year it seems more of that land is drowning under floodwater. Wildlife Supervisor Randy Prachar watched Thursday afternoon as a pair of loons glided over the surface of a pond within the area. No chicks followed the adults. "They probably lost their family — lost their nest — to the flooding," he said, slapping away mosquitoes.
A federal research initiative centered on integrating unmanned aircraft systems into national airspace with ties to North Dakota could see an additional three years of operation. Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., announced Wednesday the U.S. Senate and House reached an agreement to extend the Federal Aviation Administration's authorization through September 2017. Included in the bill is Hoeven's proposal for a three-year extension of the agency's UAS test site program, which includes the Northern Plains UAS Test Site headquartered at UND in Grand Forks.
Gene Payson has seen the world from the controller of small unmanned aircraft systems. He serves as chief trainer for Unmanned Vehicle University, a job that sends him to cities...
A change to lot lines approved Tuesday by the East Grand Forks City Council is expected to pave the way for a new apartment building on the city's north end. The council's six present members voted unanimously to approve the changes to the lots and their corresponding concept development plan. The apartment building would be added to the existing Green Acres apartment complex located at 1800 Fifth Ave. N.E.
After taking a deep sniff from a bag, Daisy bolted into the thick prairie brush in search of her target. It's not the first time the bloodhound and her handler, North Dakota State Trooper Cody Harstad, have hit the trail in search of a person, but it is the first time they've had help from what could become a routine partner. Hovering hundreds of feet above Daisy's head was a unmanned aircraft operated by Grand Forks area law enforcement officers.
Gene Payson has seen the world from the controller of small unmanned aircraft systems. He serves as chief trainer for Unmanned Vehicle University, a job that sends him to cities and Air Force bases around the United States regularly and across oceans as well. "I was called up by an Arab sheik and he flew me out to his yacht in Monaco, and I spent four days with this Arab sheik training him how to fly his (unmanned aerial vehicles)," Payson said. "So yeah, I get around."
Local researchers have received approval from a UND committee to test using unmanned aircraft systems to assess storm damage for Xcel Energy. The company wants to simulate storm damage in Mayville, N.D., and evaluate the abilities of an unmanned aircraft outfitted with cameras to detect said damage and determine if its use could speed up recovery from severe weather.
New rules are often met with grumbling, but federal regulations for small unmanned aircraft systems effective in August are eagerly awaited by North Dakota leaders and businesses. The regulations, which ease access to airspace and pilot credentials for many, are expected to bring industry growth with their implementation. North Dakota, which has forged a reputation as a hub for unmanned activity, is looking for a piece of that pie.
Growing interest in unmanned aircraft systems has UND switching up who will oversee the school's academic program and research initiatives that revolve around the technology. The Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems Research, Education and Training, which includes the UAS undergraduate degree program, will now report to the president's office through the university's Division of Research and Economic Development. The move aims to centralize unmanned operations within the campus and open up access to those wishing to use the technology for their research efforts.