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Denver International Airport, FAA Address Unmanned Aircraft Systems

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Airport, FAA Officials Call for Education, Reporting of Unauthorized Uses

DENVER — Sept. 30, 2015 — Denver International Airport (DEN) today announced the formation of a regional working group to identify collaborative solutions to the potential hazards posed by unauthorized and unsafe uses of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) near Colorado airports.

The primary purpose of the working group is for representatives of regional airports, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and law enforcement agencies to share their experiences with UAS issues and help develop future policy recommendations as new regulations are made at the federal level. The group will also work to share best practices for documenting and responding to UAS incidents, and will consider how future procedures might enable safe commercial UAS uses at airports. The working group will also explore public outreach and education about the safe operation of UAS.

The working group is comprised of representatives from the following agencies:

  • Denver International Airport
  • The Federal Aviation Administration
  • The Colorado Department of Transportation’s Aeronautics Division
  • Centennial Airport
  • Front Range Airport
  • Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport
  • The Denver Police Department
  • The Federal Bureau of Investigation

“Unmanned aircraft systems are creating unprecedented new tools for hobbyists and commercial uses, but operators who don’t follow the rules are creating a potentially dangerous situation for commercial aircraft,” said Ken Greene, DEN’s chief operating officer. “Safety is the No. 1 priority at Denver International Airport, and this working group will enable us to pool our collective resources and knowledge with our federal and regional partners to address this emerging technology.”

Under the FAA’s rules, recreational UAS users are required to stay below 400 feet and must contact air traffic controllers within five miles of any airport. Over the last three months, unauthorized UAS have been spotted on or near DEN property seven times at altitudes up to 3,660 feet and as close as 500 feet to approaching aircraft. DEN is asking the public to report UAS operations on or near the airport to local law enforcement to help discourage this dangerous, illegal activity. Anyone who spots a UAS on or near airport property is asked to call DEN police dispatchers at 303-342-4211. The FAA’s “Know Before You Fly” campaign educates unmanned aircraft users about where they can operate within the rules. Anyone operating a recreational UAS should consult www.KnowBeforeYouFly.org.

The FAA also announced today that it is partnering with DEN to produce and display a new public service announcement focused on educating the public about the safe operation of UAS. The new announcements will be featured on DEN’s four 26’ diagonal DEN video towers inside the Jeppesen Terminal for two weeks in December during the busy winter holiday season. Click here to view the video.

“Pilot reports about unmanned aircraft flying in their vicinity have increased dramatically in the last year, and this is a trend that the FAA is very concerned about,” said Joe Morra, operations manager for the FAA’s Office of Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration. “We’re addressing this growing problem through a combination of increased educational outreach efforts and, in cases where unmanned aircraft operators endanger the safety of the National Airspace System, enforcement action.”


Denver International Airport is one of the busiest airports in the world. DEN is the primary economic engine for the state of Colorado, generating more than $36 billion for the region annually. For more information visit www.FlyDenver.com, check us out on YouTube and Instagram, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. Sign up for DEN’s monthly newsletter Nonstop News.


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Denver International Airport is one of the busiest airports in the world. DEN is the primary economic engine for the state of Colorado, generating more than $36 billion for the region annually. Follow us on socials!