Drones used by CBP agents to patrol the deserts north of Mexico - New York News

Drones used by CBP agents to patrol the deserts north of Mexico

Posted: Updated:
  • Special ReportsMore>>

  • Arizona team plans mission to investigate asteroid

    Arizona team plans mission to investigate asteroid

    It will take 21 years and close to 1 billion dollars. But if all goes well, a University of Arizona scientist will make history when a NASA spacecraft returns part of an asteroid that could one day impact earth.It's a mission that could be de-railed by what is happening in Ukraine.
    It will take 21 years and close to 1 billion dollars. But if all goes well, a University of Arizona scientist will make history when a NASA spacecraft returns part of an asteroid that could one day impact earth.It's a mission that could be de-railed by what is happening in Ukraine.
  • Company offers dinners ready to cook for busy families

    Company offers dinners ready to cook for busy families

    How does a home cooked meal sound without cooking at home? A new kitchen is there for those wanting the taste of a home cooked dinner.Making dinner is a process. There's planning, shopping, prepping, chopping and cooking.
    How does a home cooked meal sound without cooking at home? A new kitchen is there for those wanting the taste of a home cooked dinner.Making dinner is a process. There's planning, shopping, prepping, chopping and cooking.
  • Arizona agency tracks radiation: tests regularly for any problems

    Arizona agency tracks radiation: tests regularly for any problems

    From licensing tanning beds, to keeping track of radioactive material, and monitoring the air outside of the Palo Verde Nuclear Power Plant. All of this is the responsibility of the Arizona Radiation Regulatory Agency. It's part of their job to keep the public safe.
    From licensing tanning beds, to keeping track of radioactive material, and monitoring the air outside of the Palo Verde Nuclear Power Plant. All of this is the responsibility of the Arizona Radiation Regulatory Agency. It's part of their job to keep the public safe.
PHOENIX (KSAZ) - For nearly ten years, unmanned drones have been quietly patrolling the Arizona-Mexico border. The drones track drugs and people entering the country illegally.

They're expensive to operate at $3,200 per flight hour, but they are a powerful asset in border security.

At Fort Huachuca in Southern Arizona crews from the Customs & Border Protection's Office of Air & Marine launched a Predator-B unmanned aerial vehicle or UAV.

Just don't call it a drone, to these guys that's a four letter word.

"These things are so far from a drone its not even funny," said a UAV pilot.

It's true there is no one on board but a pilot is flying it. They're just flying it remotely using joysticks and controls from inside a trailer next to the runway.

"The flying is very similar to an actual airplane, the controls are similar, and the autopilot set ups are very similar to an actual airplane," said the pilot who did not want to be identified.

When you see pictures of the Predator you tend to think it's small, more like a model airplane. Then when you see the real thing it's a lot bigger, the wingspan alone is more than 60 feet. It's a big aircraft, and it's an engineering marvel.

Predator's are best known for killing terrorists in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan but increasingly they're being used for border surveillance.

The aircraft can stay aloft for 21 straight hours and beam back crystal clear pictures to the ground as they track illegal immigrants and drug smugglers crossing into the United States.

"Our goal is to locate the groups and then what we do is use our multiple radios to guide agents in on the groups," he said.

We witnessed that activity first hand in 2006 while riding in a blackhawk helicopter with CBP agents. A Predator UAV was 15,000 feet in the air and saw a group of 60 snaking through the Arizona Desert. The UAV guided the crew of the blackhawk in, and agents rounded them up.

A bubble underneath the nose of the Predator is equipped with an array of high quality cameras and sensors.

"There 're multiple fields of view, we can zoom at different levels," he said.

That's why the Predator was built with the propeller in the tail, to leave an unobstructed view for the cameras. Even from 20,000 feet you can clearly spot a smuggler in the desert.

"Based on the camera types we can locate groups in day or night," said the pilot.

But the Predator is not only working the border. In April, we watched it provide pictures and air support as crews battled the Brown Fire outside of Sierra Vista. While one lens captured a line of fire retardant dropped by tankers, another lens gave insight into hot spots.

From 2010-2012, Predator B's flew over 700 missions not related to border security, including assisting with flooding in North Dakota last year and most recently Tornadoes that damaged the south.

CBP operates 4 Predator B UAV's out of Fort Huachuca. The agency has a nationwide fleet of 10 and hopes to have 24 of them flying by 2016.

"They provide such a vast capability to the border that I think this is the way the CBP will go in the future," he said.
Didn't find what
you were looking for?

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Girl drowns off Coney Island

    Girl drowns off Coney Island

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 11:07 PM EDT2014-07-23 03:07:25 GMT
    A girl from Staten Island apparently drowned off Coney Island Beach Tuesday evening, police said. Good Samaritans pulled Takara McDuffy, 10, and a 9-year-old girl from the water near Stillwell Avenue at about 7 p.m., the NYPD said. Medics took McDuffy to Coney Island Hospital where she was pronounced dead, authorities said.
    A girl from Staten Island apparently drowned off Coney Island Beach Tuesday evening, police said. Good Samaritans pulled Takara McDuffy, 10, and a 9-year-old girl from the water near Stillwell Avenue at about 7 p.m., the NYPD said. Medics took McDuffy to Coney Island Hospital where she was pronounced dead, authorities said.
  • 'Mortified': stage performers over share

    'Mortified': stage performers over share

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 10:56 PM EDT2014-07-23 02:56:08 GMT
    Some might call Jenn Wehrung a performance artist. Others, more simply, a masochist. This Brooklynite shares her deepest innermost thoughts from 6th grade in a show perhaps best summed up by its name: "Mortified."Wehrung is 37, single, and claims to have $37 in her bank account.Financially poor maybe, the ensemble real-life characters of "Mortified" are all filthy rich in memories.
    Some might call Jenn Wehrung a performance artist. Others, more simply, a masochist. This Brooklynite shares her deepest innermost thoughts from 6th grade in a show perhaps best summed up by its name: "Mortified."Wehrung is 37, single, and claims to have $37 in her bank account.Financially poor maybe, the ensemble real-life characters of "Mortified" are all filthy rich in memories.
  • FAA bans U.S. flights to Tel Aviv airport

    FAA bans U.S. flights to Tel Aviv airport

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 10:39 PM EDT2014-07-23 02:39:02 GMT
    The Federal Aviation Administration has banned U.S. carriers from flying to Israel's main airport for 24 hours. The FAA made the announcement at about 12:40 p.m. on Tuesday. This comes after two U.S. airlines cancelled all flights to Israel until further notice following a rocket landing near the Ben-Gurion Airport earlier in the day.
    The Federal Aviation Administration has banned U.S. carriers from flying to Israel's main airport for 24 hours. The FAA made the announcement at about 12:40 p.m. on Tuesday. This comes after two U.S. airlines cancelled all flights to Israel until further notice following a rocket landing near the Ben-Gurion Airport earlier in the day.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices