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Helicopters, Drones Called in to Support Boston Marathon Security

By S.L. Fuller | April 14, 2017
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Photo courtesy of CyPhy Works via Facebook

The Boston Marathon is slated for April 17, which means police and other entities have been preparing security measures. Finishing up on April 14, the U.S. Energy Dept.'s National Nuclear Security Administration conducted a few days of low-altitude flights around the city to measure naturally occurring background radiation, the administration said.

A Bell Helicopter 412, operated by the administration’s Remote Sensing Laboratory Aerial Measuring System from Joint Base Andrews, flew at a low of 150 feet at 80 mph. It collected data with radiation-sensing technology, and flew a grid pattern over the city. This is a standard procedure in security and emergency preparedness.


Authorities plan to make greater use of unmanned aircraft systems during this year’s event. Massachusetts-based CyPhy Works is set to provide PARC, its tethered drone, for surveillance. PARC stands for “persistent aerial reconnaissance and communications.” As the name suggests, the drone has enough endurance to make multi-day flights. It is able to stream high-definition footage to the command center during the event.

Last February, CyPhy Works was asked to support the Tokyo Police during the Tokyo Marathon.

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