The Central Colorado Unmanned Aircraft Systems Club invited Chaffee County SWAT and Buena Vista school district representatives to their drone park Tuesday for a flight demonstration and presentation.

CCUAS club president Taylor Albrecht said the drone park is one-of-a-kind.

“This is awesome. There’s nothing like this in the world,” he said.

The park currently consists of a course to practice basic maneuvering and the beginnings of an obstacle zone, with windows and doors for pilots to navigate drones through. A race course is in development on the park’s west side.

Albrecht started the club in the fall of 2017 with a mission of public outreach and education.

Chaffee County SWAT commander Jesse Cortese attended the event to share knowledge and experience.

“We have a pretty extensive drone program that we utilize for our operations. We’re hopefully learning some stuff from these guys and maybe we’ll be able to share some knowledge from them,” he said. “Drones have really changed the way we attack things, so to speak.”

Cortese explained that drone program has been up and running for about a year and is being used in uncertain situations to keep officers more safe. Albrecht said drones have similar applications in tower inspections for utility and infrastructure workers.

The club presented superintendent Lisa Yates and principal Jon Ail with a $1,500 check and two drones for the BV school district’s new drone program.

Superintendent Yates said the drone program was a good pairing for students who may be seeking college alternatives in technical and trade fields.

“We wanted to make sure that our community and our students knew that there were options besides college. But when you start opening that door, it’s like what are you going to offer and what won’t you offer?” she said.

“So we focused on two things: One, internships...and the second one was drones. And that came from a lot of research that Jon did on the importance of being technically savvy.”

The organization also holds an annual conference at Mt. Princeton for drone enthusiasts.

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