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Sun, Aug 13, 2023

USCG Detects 16 Unauthorized UAS During Seattle Seafair Event

U.S. Tax Dollars at Work

The United States Coast Guard employed Counter-Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) capabilities in collaboration with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Seattle Police Department (SPD), and Mercer Island Police Department (MIPD) to enforce FAA-issued temporary flight restrictions over Lake Washington during 2023’s Seafair Weekend Festival in support of the event’s constituent airshow.

Celebrated in the Jet (nee Emerald) City since 1950, Seafair is a summer festival encompassing a variety of small neighborhood events culminating in numerous major citywide celebrations. While many small block parties and local parades occur under the auspices of Seafair, Seattle residents generally associate Seafair with the Torchlight Parade, Seafair Cup hydroplane races, and performances by the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels Flight Demonstration Squadron.

2023 marked the first year in which USCG counter-UAS measures have been employed at Seafair.

Throughout the event, the Coast Guard detected 16 UAS operators violating airspace restrictions during the H1 Unlimited Hydroplane Races and Boeing Air Show. Officers from SPD and MIPD were able to contact eight UAS operators and provide education on airspace restrictions as well as safe UAS operations.

One operator—after the deportment currently fashionable in the Puget Sound region—was cited for reckless endangerment by the Seattle Police Department.

Coast Guard incident commander for Seafair Commander Scott McGrew stated:

“Unauthorized UAS can be extremely dangerous to airshow pilots, as well as spectators. Our robust partnership with the FAA, Seattle Police, and Mercer Island Police Department is vital to ensure unauthorized UAS operators are intercepted and educated on safe operations and reminded of the FAA Temporary Flight Restrictions in place to support the airshow.”

Created by Congress as the Revenue-Marine on 04 August 1790, the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) is the oldest continuously operating naval service of the United States. The Semper Paratus (Always Ready) motto to which the Coast Guard aspires speaks to the outfit’s ethos and the nature of its humanitarian and security missions.

Stated simply, the Coast Guard protects the United States' borders and defends her sovereignty by safeguarding sea lines of communication and commerce across 95,000-miles of U.S. coastline and the entirety of the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone. This critical work is carried out by 44,500 active-duty personnel, 7,000 reservists, and 8,577 full-time civilian employees.

The USCG’s fleet of roughly 250 coastal and ocean-going cutters, patrol ships, buoy tenders, tugs, and icebreakers; as well as nearly two-thousand small boats and specialized craft constitutes the world’s 12th largest naval force. The service’s aviation division comprises north of two-hundred helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft the likes of the AC-37A (Gulfstream V), HC-144A (Airbus CN-235), and Lockheed’s mighty HC-130 Hercules utility turboprop transport. To supplement the aforementioned and better support its homeland security and search & rescue operations, the Coast Guard is building an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) program around General Atomics’ MQ-9 Reaper platform.

FMI: www.uscg.mil

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