ABC 7 News debuts new drone "Spirit"

ABC 7 News drone operators say they went through strenuous training to be able to fly the high-tech piece of equipment. (ABC 7 Amarillo-Tiffany Lester)

ABC 7 News now has a new commercial drone to bring the latest breaking news coverage to you at home and online.

But it takes hard work to get the high-tech piece of equipment off the ground.

The nearly 20-pound drone named “Spirit” is officially the newest member of the ABC 7 News family.

Operators Drew Powell and Steve Douglass said a lot goes into getting it in the air.

The pair must follow several specific rules and regulations and go through a long checklist before taking flight.

"It's about a 30 to 40 minute process once we make the decision to go ahead and fly the drone. We have to file a flight plan. We have to check everything with the weather," said Drone Operator and Multimedia Journalist Drew Powell.

There must also be a line of sight on the drone at all times.

The images and videos that can be captured on the drone is almost endless.

"This is going to give us a way to look at a wider view, a higher view and you can get more of a 3D picture of what is going on," said Drone Operator and Chief Photographer Steve Douglass.

"It gives a different element with a different dimention that is not your standard shot that you see from the ground," said Powell.

But for ABC 7 News, it's about more than providing beautiful images on newscasts. It's also about safety.

"It can fly almost 100 miles per hour and if it hits you, it would hurt you. And if it hurt somebody and we had an accident, Drew and I who are the operators, are responsible for that. We are the final responsibility for that," said Douglass.

ABC 7 News also met with local law enforcement to relieve any concerns they have about any possible interference from our drone.

We will continue to contact them in the event we use the drone during a news situation.

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