Drone Racing Park Update

I sent an email to the Parks and Recs Board members and the MSB Parks and Recs staff person (Hugh Leslie) on May 21st asking a lot of questions about the proposed Drone Racing Park and proposed Management agreement.  However, I did not get any response.

MSB Drone Park email May 21 2018

Here are some of the Facebook screen shots referred to in my email.  (Mr. Colligan has since deleted his comments.)


The Drone Racing Park issue was discussed at the May 21st Parks and Recs meeting but the discussion was continued to their next meeting which was held this week.

Here is the agenda for the Parks and Recs Board’s June 25th meeting:

MSB PRTAB agenda

When I saw the agenda for the latest PRTAB meeting, I sent another email (to the same group) asking for more information – including a copy of the proposed management agreement:

MSB PRTAB email 2

The MSB staff person did not respond.  There are a LOT of unanswered questions about this proposed Drone Racing Park.

How can the public and the Parks and Recs board evaluate a proposal if we can’t actually review the proposal – i..e the proposed management agreement and site plans ??

A member of the Board did reply and suggested that I just attend the meeting. I explained that I was unable to do so because I had another activity to attend.  The next day she reported back about what happened at the meeting: No action was taken on the Drone Racing Park issue and there were no additional documents provided.  The Board requested more information and it will probably be online for the next meeting – July.

Then I noticed that there is also a meeting this week of the MSB Aviation Advisory Board and that the Drone Racing Park is also an item on that agenda.  (This is the Aviation board’s first meeting since February. It is odd that this agenda says “Drone Racing League Application UPDATE” as I didn’t see the Drone item on their February meeting agenda.)

MSB Aviation Board agenda

In the Aviation Advisory Board meeting packet, there is information from the Drone League:

MSB Aviation Board packet June 26 2018

Here are two highlighted pages from the Drone League’s documents:


My analysis:  The Drone League wants complete control of 50 acres. Also they seem to say – oh, we’ll agree to some joint use of our acreage – but it has to be “scheduled” joint use – i.e., no one can use this area unless they get permission ahead of time.  That is baloney.

I see a fuzzy picture of an airport.  Are they planning to build an airport?  The Drone League also mentions control of a “shared” parking lot.  What parking lot is this? Are they planning to build (or have the MSB build) a new parking lot near their new aiport or are they talking about a parking lot already at Jim Creek?

The Drone League seems to want the MSB to go in with them to obtain funding opportunities.  Of course they do.

This proposed project and the way the MSB has handled it stinks to high heaven.  The Drone League needs to buy their own land and build their own infrastructure.

Why should the MSB be pushed into assisting with this pet project of (former Assembly member) Steve Colligan’s??? Especially when his private business interests intersect so completely with his drone hobby.  What is the percentage of people in the MSB who are into drone racing? It is very small.  Who does this proposed Drone Racing Park really benefit??

More UFO activity

MSB Jim Creek Proposed RC Park

This is on the Agenda at next week’s MSB Parks and Recs Advisory Committee Meeting (to be held out in Willow – which seems like an odd place to hold this meeting considering the Jim Creek Master Plan is at issue!)

This is a follow-up to my UFVs and UFOs post about the new MSB Ordinance exempting drone racing from the permitting process when I noted that the ordinance seemed to benefit one group in particular – former Assembly member Stephen Colligan’s Drone Racing League.   Mr. Colligan’s term ended just last fall.


So, now, the MSB has revealed the entire plan. The MSB wants to sign a “Management Agreement” with this group to allow them to develop 50 acres at Jim Creek – to include a runway, etc.

And this proposed development does NOT conform to the Jim Creek Master Plan.


Here is the complete meeting packet:

MSB Jim Creek Drone may-21st-prtab-meeting-packet

IMPORTANT NOTE:  Drones are not just Mr. Colligan’s hobby (he is the founder and President of the Alaska Drone Racing League), they are his business.

Mr. Colligan owns 3GLP, Inc. (Website is 3GLP.net).  3GLP’s companies include E-Terra and Precision Flight Devices or PFD (www.PrecisionFlightDevices.com).  PFD concentrates on “Unmanned Aircraft Systems, Sensors, and Aviation Consulting.”  PFD offers all sorts of drone-related services including training.

So this begs the question – if and when the “Drone Racing League” signs a “management agreement” and gets permission to build more infrastructure on the 50 acre “drone park” at Jim Creek- does this mean that they will control all access to this area? Will their members be allowed to use the park for commercial or business purposes? In other words, suppose a Drone Racing League member has a separate private company and wants to demonstrate or test some equipment for sale and/or train a client?? Can they use the park for this purpose? Is this a fair and proper use of our public property?

Colligan biz

Mr. Colligan’s profile from LinkedIn:

Colligan Linkedn

Precision Flight Devices (PFD) issued a press release in the fall of 2016 to discuss its training program:



More on Mr. Colligan’s Non Profit and For Profit entities:

There seems to be a lot of overlap between all of Mr. Colligan’s drone companies – the non profit entities and the for profit entities.

Mr. Colligan set up the AK Drone Racing League, a non profit.  He also set up NRDDI – the “Northern Regions Research and Development Institute” – another non profit – which he has registered as a federal vendor and which has received at least a couple of fed. gov’t grants.

NRRDI grants


According to the Alaska Drone Racing League – AKDRL – their partners are NRDDI, the non-profit/gov’t vendor, and PFD, the for profit drone company.



Special Interest Groups:

Why is the MSB allowing the Drone Racing League to set up a park on MSB property? What about other non profits?  Are we now going to allow any non profit to set up special infrastructure on MSB land and enter into “management agreements” to control certain areas?

UFVs and UFOs


There is a Planning Commission Meeting on April 2, 2018 and UFVs and UFOs are on the agenda.

Resolution 18-09 is being introduced.  The MSB planning staff is advising the Planning Commission to adopt this resolution recommending that the MSB Assembly approve Ordinance 18-021.


What is Ordinance 18-021???

An amendment/update to MSB Code exempting Unmanned Flying Vehicles (UFVs, i.e. drones) from the Conditional Use Permit requirements for Race Tracks.

So, if this Ordinance passes, there will be no notice to the public and no process for the approval of any drone racing tracks/areas.

Here is the Memo about this resolution:

The details including the specific changes to the MSB Code are outlined in the Planning Commission Meeting packet:

Drone Races pc-packet-04-02-18

So, if UFVs are drones, what are UFOs?

Those are “Unidentified Friend’s Ordinances”…That is, Ordinances drafted for friends of the MSB.

Notice that in all the paperwork prepared by the MSB staff which was posted publicly and submitted to the Planning Commission etc, there is ZERO mention of the real reason the MSB wants this ordinance changed.  Who or what is behind the push to change the rules re: drone racing? 

The MSB always hides the ball.  They never explain what is really going on behind the scenes when they propose an Ordinance or a Resolution, etc.  They never tell the public “the rest of the story.”

I had to do a lot of digging to figure out what the real story was behind this seemingly innocuous Ordinance change.

In this case, the friend is former MSB Assembly member Stephen Colligan.

He loves drones and drone racing.



He founded the non profit, Alaska Drone Racing League, in 2016.

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WARNING TO BUTTE RESIDENTS:  The drone races are taking place out in the Butte but if this Ordinance passes, you will have no say about these drone races.

The Alaska Drone Racing League has a website – AKDRL.ORG.  They also have a Facebook page.

THEY ALSO SEEM TO HAVE A SPECIAL DRONE RACING PARK LOCATED RIGHT AT THE JIM CREEK RECREATIONAL AREA.  (Did the MSB inform the public about this before they agreed to allow this drone league to race at Jim Creek? Why wasn’t this on the agenda of an Assembly meeting or the Butte Community Council meeting?)

Look at the Drone League’s Facebook post from February 24th of this year. “The MatSu Borough has been busy working in the area of our flying field.  There are now 18 camping spots on site. A large berm is in place as well.  There will be a specific parking area for us on our field.”

So,  I guess the MSB has been making sure Jim Creek has amenities for the drone league folks.  Hmmmm….

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And look at the Alaska Drone League’s website.  They have scheduled the AKDRL Summer 2018 season and most of the races are taking place at the “Jim Creek RC Park” which seems to be located right at the (publicly owned) Jim Creek Rec Area.

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The “Jim Creek RC Park.”  Why hasn’t this park been publicized before? Is this part of the Jim Creek Master Plan?

If so, I can’t find it:


Why didn’t the MSB staff reveal to the Planning Commission and the public that it has basically ALREADY granted permission to the AKDRL to have drone races at Jim Creek? And why didn’t the MSB reveal that they have basically already accommodated this drone league with a special field for their use and parking spots at Jim Creek?

I wonder if the fact that Steve Colligan was an Assembly member until this past fall has anything to do with this set up? (The MSB Planning Division is accommodating Assembly member Dr. Doty’s request for an Aviation overlay district and SPUD for her privately owned Wolf Lake airport. See blog post “This SPUD’s for you.”)