By April Baumgarten
Grand Forks Herald
The Federal Aviation Administration has given drone pilots with the Grand Forks County Sheriff’s Office permission to fly drones at night anywhere in the country.
Sheriff Bob Rost announced Friday that the FAA issued the authorization to the Northeast Region Unmanned Aircraft Systems Unit about a day after a deputy made a public plea to the federal agency during a helicopter expo earlier this week in Dallas.
The multi-agency unit has permission to fly at night in 18 North Dakota counties, but the Sheriff’s Department applied for countrywide regulatory exemptions six months ago, saying it is possible it may be called to give support to other agencies outside its exempt area.
Rost criticized the FAA after it gave electronics giant Intel permission to fly drones at night for the Super Bowl Halftime Show. The 300 drones were equipped with LED lights and formed multiple patterns during a pre-recorded segment that was shot days before the performance that featured Lady Gaga.
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