Waivers required to fly commercial drones after dark; FAA still investigating incidents in rural Colorado

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YUMA COUNTY, Colo. -- Commercial drone operators who want to fly aircraft after dark or fly multiple drones at one time must have special permission from the FAA, but the federal agency is unable to say who is responsible for flying groups of drones over homes and open land in northeastern Colorado at night.

“Multiple FAA divisions and government agencies are investigating these reports. We do not comment on the details of open investigations,” a spokesperson told the FOX31 Problem Solvers.

The list of drone operators who have received a federal waiver is public, and the Problem Solvers are working to sort through it. We’ve reached out to the Air Force, the Army, the FAA, the Bureau of Land Management, CDOT and multiple private drone operators. However, we still do not have a solid answer explaining who is flying the unmanned aircraft.

On Saturday afternoon, the Colorado Division of Homeland Security Emergency Management said its Colorado Information Analysis Center is supporting local law enforcement with "the drone situation."

"No illegal activity has yet been observed and there has been no discernible threat to any national-level assets. The CIAC along with several local  Agencies, in coordination with Federal Partners, will continue monitoring for further activity and conducting research on events," a DHSEM spokesperson said via email.

Yuma County residents like Aileen Chadwick say they see the drones on a nightly basis above their homes.

“I can’t wait to find out what it is,” said Chadwick. She said she has seen multiple drones hovering at once.

“It’s just crazy that I can just step outside the front door and just look up and I can see several,” she added.

Sam George said he shot multiple videos of the aircraft from his home northwest of Wray.

“We had spotlights on them,” he said. “They’re up to 6-foot across. They’re big,” he said.

George said he sees the drones fly by around 5:30 p.m. or 6 p.m., and they leave around 11 p.m. or midnight.

“That’s all we hear of them. They’ll buzz and the dogs will bark at them, but that’s all we hear," he said.

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