Unexplained Drone Swarms Alarm Residents In Colorado


Authorities in Colorado and Nebraska continue to investigate reports of unexplained nighttime swarms of drones over eastern Colorado and western Nebraska. Dozens of residents have reported seeing drones at various altitudes with sizes estimated to be as large as six feet.

Jennifer Rollins told the Denver Post this week that she saw what appeared to be a swarm of drones near her parents’ house in Yuma County, Colorado. “It was too low to the ground to be a plane, and it seemed way too close to the house to be out in space, like a satellite,” Rollins told the Post on Tuesday. “It was definitely within driving range, for sure.”

Sighting reports have increased through December and local law enforcement agencies are at a loss to explain them. FAA spokesman Ian Gregor told CNN that multiple government agencies are investigating the sightings. In a Facebook post this week, Yuma County Sheriff Todd Combs said it appears that the drones are flying at least 150 to 200 feet from buildings and people. He said residents have been disturbed by the swarms and the regularity of the sightings. “People do not like the unknown as it upsets the balance of our lives,” Combs wrote.

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    • While many assume shooting a drone is most likely a solution to unwanted drone activity over private residences (future Big Brother implementation) there are alternatives to consider. Two may be lethal to drones if they’re carrying live video feedback to the operator. If local or national law enforcement haven’t announced intentions of a surveillance program to inform residents in a community then it may be surmised as possible invasion of privacy where citizens can defend themselves from unwanted intrusion. A camera can be blinded by light………any form of
      portable powerful night lighting sold online to illuminate an area. Just be sure to identify a drone and where it may land if its rendered blind and the operator didn’t anticipate flying without an on-board live video feedback.

  1. Isn’t eastern rural Colorado and western Nebraska where all the unexplained animal mutilations have been occurring?

    “In 1974, a few months after the first spate of alleged mutilations in the US, multiple farmers in Nebraska claimed to witness UFOs on the nights their cattle were harmed. One claimed he saw an object which ‘looked as if it had a little bluish-green light on each side with a glow surrounding it.’ “

  2. Multiple agencies are investigating, swarms/formations seem to mean 6-10 drones at a time according to multiple witnesses, some as large as six feet, seen between the hours of 7-10PM night after night in several counties (seen even by the police) since 12/17/19, and no body has an explanation for these sightings.

    It appears that with all the modern technology to design, build, purchase and fly these crafts, and all the technology currently available to see and identify these “drones” ( if that is what they are), there are some serious technological gaps in being able to “see” these machines plus an inability to identify their source and pilots. Considering all of the collective efforts by private tech companies, the FAA, and the aviation community in general, “Houston, we have a problem” regarding manned and unmanned aircraft separation is a far more serious problem than anyone wants to admit.

    Apparently, whoever is flying these drones are getting more bold realizing they can do what they want, when they want, with out any repercussions. They can take-off from an unidentifiable somewhere, fly within hundreds of feet of anyone, including within sight of law enforcement, lights on, and go somewhere equally unidentifiable, with impunity. Not even the military has an answer. And today, we start with ADS-B.

    Sleep tight America. It looks like drones, in addition to the government, police, and the military are watching you. And at this point, there is not a darned thing you can do about it.

    • “They can take-off from an unidentifiable somewhere, fly within hundreds of feet of anyone, including within sight of law enforcement, lights on, and go somewhere equally unidentifiable, with impunity.”

      Well, we can’t have that! We still have an ounce (gram?) of liberty left in this country! We need some more regulations!!!

  3. Theory #1: Didn’t the state of Colorado legalize marijuana several years ago?

    Theory #2: The FAA needed justification for their new law requiring homing devices on drone controllers. So, they secretly hired some company to create a reason.

    Theory #3: Bored teenagers strike again.

    Theory #4: Some company is testing out a new long range drone with extended battery duration, but they do it at night so no one can easily see, or photograph the units. Either that or they are testing a new night vision system. Has anyone checked with DARPA to see if they will fess up?

    Seriously, this is a good example of why the FAA’s new drone ID proposal is a waste of time. Building a drone yourself or hacking into the electronics to disable any factory installed homing systems is well within the capabilities of computer savvy teenagers. Here in Houston there are schools that teach classes on how to build your own drone. Whomever is doing this, they change locations frequently to avoid being caught, and they stick to remote areas where law enforcement and eyewitnesses are few and far between. Either that, or;

    Theory #5: The aliens are back at it again….

    • Theory #1 is likely correct as exemplified by the following deleterious impact of legalizing cannabis in CO:

      “In western Colorado, police were lucky to discover a homeowner’s hash oil operation before it exploded last week only after the homeowner’s dog bit his genitals, leading him to call 9-1-1. And edible marijuana has already been blamed for two recent deaths—a college student leaping off a hotel balcony, a husband shooting his wife, both after eating pot.”

      then again, there’s a possible Theory #4 subset:

      George Bye is flight testing a new eFlyer II powered by a top secret power source invented by Elon Musk; he wants to totally captivate the audience at Airventure 2020 with a one-hour electric airplane aerobatic routine unlike that ever seen before. So he’s out in rural eastern CO practicing. It isn’t really a “swarm,” it’s just one eFlyer II jinking a lot and emulating one of those UFO tic tac thingies. He’s doing it at night because he wants to show it off during the Wednesday and Saturday night Oshkosh airshows.

  4. As an RC modeler and full scale pilot, there are times and places where I should not be flying. Hobby flyers do not do night formation flights over or near populated or less populated places, no more than I would be circling my house at low altitudes at night in my airplane. With all the press, someone(s) is having a hoot stirring the pot purposefully disrupting the lives of folks, simply because they can. They are well lit and seem to be flying under control.

    That is what makes me mad. Someone is purposefully trying to get attention at the expense of aviation, both hobby and full size. GA and aviation in general is in a death spiral PR wise. The FAA is making big pronouncements and NPRM’s about legislation that will drastically affect model aviation. More regulation and expense to force a form of ADS-B for model aviation. That means more expense for the modeler but also adds to the increasing confusion and issues of integrating the manned with the unmanned.

    The nation media broadcast all sorts of stories about the FAA wanting to regulate the aerial hobby industry the day after the videos and newscasts surfaced of these night formation flights. So, whoever these pilots are, no matter how controlled they may be flying, doing what they are doing, are drawing national attention from an American non-aviation savvy public. This crap will be adding another cost to my flying in both hobby and GA realms. In addition, they are making the local authorities, the military, and the FAA look like buffoons.

    In the end, all of us involved in aviation ends up paying a political, regulatory, and PR price because we have to add another set of laws to deal with the lowest common denominator of folks who think this is fun.

    Soon to follow, of course, is the inevitable public FB firestorm of opinions “I have a right” to do what I please when I please debate, which adds even more negative PR for aviation. This is the kind of thing that focuses negative attention to airports, RC flying fields, even electric powered park flyers, that can set a public precedence demanding even more ridiculous rules, regulations, and laws. These will be promulgated by yet another aviation clueless politician, ate up by the public, while we cry in our beer that aviation’s glory days are gone. S*#! rolls downhill. At the moment we law abiding, ADS-B compliant, FAA scrutinized GA pilots and mechanics are at the bottom of that hill.

    Yeah, this looks like a silly little story of somebody getting their jollies wadding up people’s underwear in remote Colorado and Nebraska boon-docks. To me, it is another straw put on the regulatory back of a now very public FAA that will “demanding” the FAA do something to stop this threat to public safety. All of us in aviation pays for this careless behavior, now and later.

    • The NT Times printed that story so it HAS to be unquestionably true, Jim !!

      It’s only the second day of the new year and we’re already off and running … if we’re goin’ down the “chute,” we may as well have a little fun with it.

      Off subject … I watched a video about the RV factory in Oregon this AM. An airplane called the RV-15 was hinted at … any guesses. If it’s an EAA MOSAIC compliant “heavy LSA” with a 914iS or 915 … I’m in.

  5. Larry, I am not sure where the “NT Times” figures in all this, nor what THAT story is, but it is day one of ADS-B compliance. Maybe there is a link between the two I have missed. Either way, somebody is flying multiple something(s) at night in Colorado/Nebraska corner that is making headlines.

    In a few more days we will found out how everyone is faring with next phase of NexGen. Starting off 2020 with a bang, we have drone/UFO’s ( or is it unidentified flying drones UFD’s?), ADS-B, “heavy LSA’s ( sounds like a contradiction of terms), and Lockheed-Martin claiming to be under budget of the latest but highest F-35 prices ( another contradiction of terms). Yes, 2020 is off to a fine start.

  6. It’s an ‘inside’ story not meant to be understood by all, Jim

    Since we now have UAM’s and UAS, let’s stick with UFD’s.
    By the time next December rolls around, we should use up the alphabet.

    The EAA “hinted (promised)” with their MOSAIC initiative that the MGTOW of LSA’s would rise to 3,600# … ergo “heavy LSA”

  7. “Since we now have UAM’s and UAS, let’s stick with UFD’s.
    By the time next December rolls around, we should use up the alphabet.”

    Larry, you make me laugh. We are both ribbing each other with these aviation terms all well summed up in aviation acronym language. The EAA with their MOSIAC initiative that the MGTOW of LSA’s would rise to 3600#’s. Come next December, you are right, all of the alphabet will be used up, possibly numbers too. Can you imagine an archaeologist trying to decipher that 1,000 years from now? I needed that good sense of humor this evening.


    Yeah … college kids that look like little green guys with big bug eyes in a dig with spoons and paint brushes will be brushing aside dirt trying to figure out what the hell all those ‘things’ are with propellers all over the place.

    I think we’ve opened a segue for PB to try and make an 8 minute video out of it all to set us all straight, too.

  9. “Unexplained Drone Swarms”

    First off, why do they need explanation if they are being legally operated?
    I’m getting tired of “alarmed” people wasting the time of police because they are scared of the Bogeyman.

    • “First off, why do they need explanation if they are being legally operated?”

      I would disagree with you, Mark. We have WAY to many laws and too much regulation in this country. What we should care about is not being law-abiding citizens. The standard should be “are we peaceful citizens”? I would ask:

      “…why do they need explanation if they are being SAFELY operated?”

      Maybe it’s splitting hairs, but I think it’s an important distinction.

  10. So there I am driving down Milam Dairy Road, quarter mile from MIA’s 8L threshold. A couple of pickups and a dozen “enthusiasts” are piloting their drones from 50 to 150 feet having a good old time even as 737s stacked up over the Glades are on final. Personally I think less regulation is better regulation, except where real loss of life is a possibility. There’s a big difference between a cow ingesting a drone and one sucked into a fan, and the word “hobby” doesn’t excuse criminal negligence.
    They are going to be fired at, to be sure, and transponders and designated airspace won’t prevent that. The “unexplained drone swarms” may be 90% media hype irresponsible use of drones is common.

    • Yes Richard there is a difference between an airliner and a “cow ingesting a drone”. I guess you are an urbanite without knowledge of what the investment of just one cow is to a rancher. About $800 And if that “cow” is 1/2 of a cow/calf pair, you can lose both! About 3 times that if the calf is going to be a bull. Class E does NOT mean one can operate and airplane irresponsibly so why should drone owners be allowed to do so. We don’t have all the FAA regs because everyone was a responsible pilot.
      BTW, the cost of a steak at the supermarket has NOT translated to higher prices for ranchers. It is the middlemen just as in the days of unscrupulous grain elevator owners.

      • “I guess you are an urbanite without knowledge of what the investment of just one cow is to a rancher.”

        If anyone damages anyone else’s property ever, they should have to pay for it. It’s as simple as that. We don’t need more regulations and laws. Buy ’em a new cow. Done.

    • Monday morning quarterbacking from the comfort of one’s SUV is a far cry from being in seat 27C while the jet is headed for the ground because it ingested one of those drones. Doesn’t matter whether it was purposeful or accidental … the bottom line is the same.

      “Less regulation is better regulation, except where real loss of life is a possibility.” Are you for real? What the hell kind of logic is THAT ??? Who calls THAT?