Emergency responders from around the Valley are getting some high tech training in Grand Forks this week. They're learning the basics of operating the DraganFlyer.
Some SWAT teams are now using this small, unmanned aircraft system called the DraganFlyer. Its cameras are the eyes of law enforcement enabling them to plan their attack. And now, UND Aerospace is training 17 law enforcement officers and firefighters from Eastern North Dakota and Northwestern Minnesota how the DraganFlyer can be used in their agencies.
Man: "They're affordable."
UND Aerospace is the North American training center for the DraganFlyer that has a price tag starting at 25-thousand dollars, and it has all kinds of uses for different agencies.
For instance: It's infrared, heat finding camera could be used to find a lost child in winter. Fire fighters could use it to plan their attack on a major fire or chemical spill.
Alan Frazier, UND Aerospace: "That's the poster child of unmanned aircraft… that we would put it where we would not want to put a live pilot, as well as the fact that it's very affordable, much more affordable than using a manned airplane."
Bruce Smith, Dean of UND Aerospace: "The uses are unlimited. Anything that you can think of could have an application for unmanned aircraft, except at this point for passenger travel."
At this point, the Grand Forks Sheriff's Department is the only owner of a DraganFlyer in this region. But, its use will be available to surrounding counties as officers from different agencies complete their training.