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January 28, 2014
FAA Grounds Ohio City’s UAS

Lakewood City Engineer Mark Papke displays the Phantom 2 Vision UAS grounded by FAA. The city recently purchased the UAS to keep an eye on storm water pipes discharging from cliffs along Lake Erie. The city plans to seek a waiver to allow the UAS back into the air.

The federal government grounded a new unmanned aircraft system (UAS) that the Lakewood, Ohio, engineering department was using to monitor storm water discharge and erosion.

“Unfortunately, Engineer (Mark) Papke received word from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that our drone, following its maiden voyage, has been grounded pending federal authority to fly it,” Lakewood Mayor Mike Summers told city council.

According to Papke, he received a call from an FAA employee who had read a news story about Lakewood's UAS purchase. The employee, who did not return a reporter's call, told Papke the city needs to obtain a certificate of waiver or authorization to fly the UAS.

The city plans to fill out the necessary forms online for the waiver, but because of the complexity of the information requested and the regulations involved, Papke said his department may need assistance from a certified pilot. The city has some pilots on staff.

Image courtesy of Cleveland.com/Bruce Geiselman, NEOMG.

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