• A large formation of drones has been flying around between 7 pm and 10 pm every night for a week
  • The operators are not violating any laws or ordinances
  • Law enforcement and federal agencies are not responsible for the flights and believe a private company may be mapping

Vast expanses of north-eastern colorado have given way to a mysterious sight. In what has become a nightly occurrence, residents say that a group of large drones has been flying in coordinated flight, in grid patterns. The formation of drones, estimated to be 17 in number, each one with a six-foot span takes flight between 7 pm and 10 pm each night.

The activity might be worth ignoring if it had only happened once, but it has gone on for over a week. The drones fly at an altitude of a few hundred feet and appear to concentrate on the border between Philips and Yuma counties, The Drive reported. The brightly lit, multi-color display has residents and people passing through searching for answers.

According to Denver Post, Phillips County Sheriff Thomas Elliott shared that the band of large drones has been "doing a grid search, a grid pattern.” “They fly one square, and then they fly another square,” he said.

No law in Colorado requires drone pilots to file flight plans unless they are flying in airspace near an airport. So whoever is behind the drones is staying within the law. Law enforcement suspects that the drones may be operated by a private company doing some sort of mapping or search. They may also be testing out some kind of infrared technology, which would certainly explain the timeframes of the tests. The area is extremely rural and the drones aren't bothering anyone.

Flying Drone

Vic Moss, a Denver-based commercial photographer, drone pilot and co-owner of an online drone school called Drone U, said Monday that he’d bet either a company or a government agency is flying the aircraft.

“We have several drone companies here in Colorado, and they’re very innovative,” he added. “So maybe they’re testing something of theirs out in that area because it is very rural. But everyone that I know of, they coordinate all that stuff with local authorities to prevent this very situation. They all very much want people to understand drones and not cause this kind of hysteria.”

At this point, local officials are more concerned with people trying to shoot the drones down. They want everyone to know the operators are not violating any laws. Colorado has not passed any laws defining the airspace around one's property as belonging to that property. Shooting down the drones can also cause fires if they were to land on a structure, vehicle or other ignition sources.

Moreover, shooting down a drone is a federal offense, according to law enforcement. So, the best thing to do is just let them be.