Government, Military To Fly Predator Drones Over North Dakota

Friday, July 27, 2012
By Paul Martin

Local pilots protest use of blinding lasers in their airspace

Steve Watson
July 27, 2012

In conjunction with The Federal Aviation Administration, the Air National Guard plans to fly unmanned Predator aircraft over North Dakota and have them aim lasers at ground targets in the latest development in the ongoing mass expansion of the use of drones in US skies.

North Dakota news website INFORUM reports that the Air National Guard’s 119th Wing, based at Fargo’s Hector International Airport, will begin operating the drones by early October.

According to the report, the FAA has officially established eight blocks of restricted airspace over National Guard base Camp Grafton South near New Rockford. The airspace will be from 500 to 9,999 feet above sea level and commercial aircraft will be prohibited from using it.

The training will focus around target practice for laser-guided bombs and missiles. Targets will be located on small buildings or on the ground.

“People may hear airplanes flying above, but there will be no lights visible and no explosions,” Col. Rick Gibney commented.

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