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The Central Colorado Unmanned Aerial Sytems (UAS) organization has received the first of two $25,000 matching grant payments that will be used to improve the Buena Vista Drone Training Park and begin the development of a smart portable classroom and other education initiatives.

Taylor Albrecht, Chaffee County UAS President, said the money will be used to help build out specific drone flight proficiency areas such as the obstacle zone and drone racing zone.

Drones have increasing applications in multiple industries and are finding their ways into high school curriculums. Photo by Ricardo Gomez Angel/Unsplash

In addition, several shelters will be coming to the park to help protect flyers from the sun, wind or sudden weather changes.  The grant will also help equip a smart, portable classroom for use at the park and other venues.

The grant payment comes as the Chaffee County UAS is preparing to set up a drone flying cage setup on Aug. 13 and 14, during Gold Rush Days in Buena Vista. The demonstration will allow people who have not flown a drone to do so safely and learn more about the technology.

The Ray Foundation awarded them a $50,000 matching grant a year ago, but with the provision that it would be paid out in two $25,000 increments as Central Colorado UAS raised that amount through various fundraising efforts and donations. “It’s a great thing for our group to secure funding for our initiatives,” said Albrecht. “We want to help educate the public about drones and the BV Drone Training Park is a great place to start.”

The Ray Foundation is a private foundation that supports organizations and programs that develop life skills for youth primarily though aviation and STEM education programs.

“We are now in the process of raising another $25,000 locally to secure the second, matching grant from Ray Foundation,” said Albrecht. He added that the Chaffee County UAS group, which has more than 60 members from Buena Vista, Colorado, and beyond, would like to further expand its outreach with additional equipment and educational offerings. Currently, it provides drone education for professional and recreational pilots of all ages.

“We gratefully thank those who have contributed and continue to ask for your donations to assist us in meeting the final match of $25,000 from the Ray Foundation,” added Albrecht.

The Buena Vista Drone Park for the operation of unmanned aerial systems (drones) is on the edge of town near the Rodeo grounds. Courtesy image.

Albrecht and Chaffee County UAS  members are working to finalize details on the organization’s 10th UAS Roundup at Mount Princeton Hot Springs Resort in Nathrop. The conference, set this year for Sept. 12, is titled  “Beyond Visual Line of Sight” (BVLOS). Dozens of speakers, including national drone experts, will be discussing a variety of subjects during the event pertaining to flying BVLOS, which requires extensive planning and waivers.

On Sunday, Sept. 11, the day before the conference, UAS Roundup vendors will provide drone demonstrations at the Buena Vista Drone Training Park. The park, which is in the historic Rodeo Grounds, is the first municipal drone park in the nation.  In addition to these demonstrations, there will be MultiGP-sanctioned drone races!  Information and registration are available at

For information visit: Persons interested in contributing to their efforts are encouraged to visit the GoFundMe page at