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FAA Authorizes Drone Operators to Aid Hurricane Damage Assessments

The Federal Aviation Administration has authorized 43 unmanned aircraft system operators as of Thursday morning to support damage assessments or provide media coverage related to Hurricane Harvey response operations in Houston.

FAA said Thursday the UAS permits cover federal, state and local government efforts to assess homes, critical infrastructure and establishments hit by the storm to expedite emergency assistance.

Local fire department and emergency management personnel use drones to identify Harvey-related damages to local infrastructure assets such as roads, bridges, underpasses and water treatment plants, FAA noted.

The agency added Texas’ environmental quality officials also fly UAS to determine the impacts of drainage and flooding from the storm.

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