Drone use near Carson City Airport approved

Use of an unmanned aerial vehicle to do low level survey work near Carson City’s airport was approved Wednesday by the Airport Authority.

In another matter, authority members heard a complaint during public testimony as their meeting began about use of what were called “hobby hangars” for storage of things other than airplanes. The members listened to prodding about a request for eventual action, but gave no indication immediately if they would have an agenda item during a future meeting.

Regarding the drone survey work at gravel pits within two miles north of the airport, the vote was unanimous to authorize Robison Engineering to do it, but with stringent conditions geared toward safety and communications.

Nick Breshears of Robison said the UAV, or drone, the firm uses is safe and would fly low.

“We fly 200 feet or less,” he said.

He also said the survey work is done only annually and won’t be done until October, 2016.

Karl Hutter, authority chairman, said the pit involved is below a peak north of the airport and manned flights wouldn’t appear to be in jeopardy from such a drone flight as much as from the peak if the UAV flights were allowed. He also expected more discussion in the future on drones.

“This won’t be the last time we talk about this subject, I’m sure,” he said.

Jerry Vaccaro was the person testifying during the public comment period about his contention charging 25 cents per square foot for hangar space being used for non-aeronautical storage should be discussed and action taken at an authority meeting. “I’ve been waiting for you people to bring up on the agenda the topic of ‘hobby hangers’,” he said.

He handed out a 25-page compilation of his objections, which included photographs of hangars in which various items were stored.

He questioned the legality but said if it’s legal, “you have the cheapest storage rates in Carson City.”

He called for an audit involving the hangars. He also questioned the authority having Steve Tackes as legal counsel, saying the district attorney’s office should provide counsel instead.

In other action, the authority approved and accepted a full audit report for Fiscal Year 2014-15. It was termed a clean audit with no compliance issues by Beth Kohn of Reno’s Kohn & Company.


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