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DALLAS -- DFW Airport first responders have received special approval from the federal government to operate drones directly over the airfield.

"The last thing that we want to do is have any kind of air collision with anything," said Garret Bryl of the North Texas USA Response Team. Bryl consulted with DFW Police and Fire as they worked to convince the Federal Aviation Administration and DFW Airport Operations on the benefit of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) could bring to public safety.
"We spent several hours out here just running scenarios to see would these things work here," Bryl said.

Bryl and his team produced a video as a proof of concept. In the video presented to airport operations staff, they show the zoom capabilities of drone cameras and utilize infrared technology to show engine hot spots on a running aircraft. It's not just on the tarmac. With a small drone, they can navigate the terminal, finding what could be a bomb threat.
"Police and fire on the airport, they want to be able to use this technology to their advantage as well -- what this does is open the door for other airports that want to use this to their advantage to keep everyone safer," Bryl said.

Late last month, the FAA approved drone operations by DFW Police and Fire below 50 feet provided the drone pilot maintains two-way communication with the control tower.
Officials aren't saying how many drones are in their fleet or what type of aircraft they're operating, but WFAA confirmed they've been cleared to fly immediately. The message to everyone else with a drone is to stay away from the airport per FAA regulations. Hobbyist must remain five miles from any airport.