Starting Tuesday, Feb. 14, and continuing through Thursday, Feb. 16, 2023, you may see some mysterious “unmanned aircraft systems” (UAS) flying over and around Normandy Park City Hall Park.
But don’t worry – they’re not surveillance balloons or UAPs (formerly UFOs) – they’re just drones.
According to the city, this activity is connected with a pilot program designed to detect and mitigate risks posed by drones to airports.
The testing area extends out five miles from the airport, and the Port of Seattle has selected several areas throughout King County as testing areas, including City Hall Park here in Normandy Park.
Four other airports in the U.S. are participating, with Sea-Tac being the largest.
All equipment will be on airport property, except for the drones the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will be using to test the system. The drones the FAA uses will be tethered to the operator with a 400-foot tether (or shorter). In addition, all drone operators will be clearly identified and wearing high-visibility jackets and always have personal identification cards on them.
The FAA does not intend to collect personal information or images during this process, and the activity should not cause a noise issue nor disturb anyone’s privacy.
The drone team will have vehicles with FAA markings (placards) and flyers available if the public approaches them. Please get in touch with City Hall or Mike DiPilato, FAA Airport Research Specialist, at Michael.DiPilato@faa.gov for more information.