Patrolman takes hobby to new heights, unmanned aircraft to assist in police work


LOGAN — A local patrolman’s hobby has taken the Logan Police Department to new heights. It’s one of only eight departments in the country to receive authorization to fly an unmanned aircraft system to assist with police work.

Jason Gadrim, a Logan Police Officer, filed for a Certificate of Waiver or Authorization known as a COA, and recently received the notification from the Federal Aviation Administration that his application was approved.

Logan Police Chief Aaron Miller said the use of Gadrim’s creations stands to be a benefit to the police department. “He has been persistent in going after this certificate,” stated Miller.

“We are very proud of his accomplishment,” remarked Miller, who noted the department will benefit from Gadrim’s hard work and dedication by the birds-eye view he can now provide local authorities.

Miller said with Gadrim’s ability to fly the unmanned aircrafts, it will assist in important police work like locating a missing child, recovering or looking for evidence, or perhaps helping to locate someone fleeing law enforcement.

The COA allows Gadrim to operate the JasGad M6 unmanned aircraft system in Class G airspace surface, 400 feet above the ground, with flight operations falling under the jurisdiction of the Port Columbus Terminal Radar Approach Control.

“The maximum altitude approved through COA is 400 feet, although the device will go up to 5,000 feet,” commented Gadrim.

The COA certificate is valid through Oct. 19, 2016.

“It’s not a drone, it’s a flying camera, it’s an aircraft,” said Gadrim.

Gadrim started linking the use of robotics and copters as a hobby. He soon discovered how expensive robots were and knew the police department could never afford such an extravagant piece of equipment, but still realized there was a need for new technology and decided to pursue the prospect of building the copters on his own.

It took time to build the first one, but since then Gadrim has built several of his crafted machines. Many of the features on Gadrim’s devices are now designed by him, with some of the pieces manufactured locally.

“This isn’t something I just had the money for,” commented Gadrim. He saves his own money to continue to add accessories to existing copters and build new ones. Although Gadrim intends to use his copters for police work, he pays for them with his own money.

Some modifications were made to the copters to meet the criteria of the FAA.

“By the FAA regulations, they wanted me to have more motors on them,” stated Gadrim. The ‘hornet’ as Gadrim referred to one of his devices, has six motors, so in the event a motor or two would be lost during flight, the aircraft would remain stable in flight.

The copters have carbon fiber blades attached to them, making them more durable than simply using plastic blades.

To complete the application, Gadrim had to go through steps just as if he was building a regular airplane. Gadrim performed test flights to obtain the data needed for the application.

Various policies were required to determine what actions would take place in the event something went wrong while in flight. For example, what would happen if the device lost signal or a motor fell off during flight? “I had to write all of these policies,” added Gadrim.

Gadrim will operate the JasGad M6 as a ground pilot. “I have to get a medical physical just like a pilot of any aircraft would,” remarked Gadrim. Additionally, he is required to maintain a flight log.

“It’s illegal to shoot down an aircraft,” remarked Gadrim; just as it would be for someone to shoot down the JasGad M6 or one of the other copters.

Formerly, Gadrim served in the military. He currently works on the Logan-Hocking Special Response Team, and is a full-time police officer.