Drone-flying skills put to test for BLM employees

Posted at 1:31 PM, Jun 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-08 15:31:30-04

BOZEMAN- Bureau of Land Management (BLM) employees from all over the country came to Bozeman Thursday to test their skills flying drones.

A group of about 16 people came to Montana State University’s Experimental Farm to fly the small quadcopter drones. The students will have to complete 80 hours of total training but on Thursday the pilots were being evaluated in order to receive a certification from the Department of the Interior.

The aircraft can be used by these employees to gather aerial video, take infrared images or for mapping purposes all without having the pilot step off the ground.

BLM’s Spokesperson Al Nash believes departments will start to use drones more because there is less risk.

"If something bad happens, we have a relatively inexpensive aircraft that might get damaged, but there is no person on board. So we can consider using these in places where it might not be so safe to use a helicopter or fixed wing, or frankly where we might not be able to afford to use a traditional platform for aerial images,” said BLM spokesperson Al Nash.