WYSO

Clark State Gets FAA Approval To Fly Drone Over Clark County Farmland

Jan 14, 2015

The Federal Aviation Administration has granted Clark State Community College permission to fly a drone in parts of Clark County and it will fly over land owned by the City of Springfield, but leased to local farmers.

Clark State recently announced it would integrate drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles, into a new precision agriculture program. Getting FAA authorization to fly was the next step. Clark State President Jo Alice Blondin indicated that the students should benefit.

"They're going to get that experience in the precision agriculture program we have here the first in Ohio and one that I think will only grow in a field that we're going to see really take off in the next 10 years," she said.

The drone flights will allow the ten students in the program to study images and provide agricultural crop health assessment to farmers. Blondin says this type of coursework could lead to job opportunities.

"One in seven jobs in Ohio is related to agriculture and this is a field we are betting on," Blondin said.

A licensed pilot will fly the drone out of Springfield's Beckley Municipal Airport, and it must remain at or below 400-feet. Test flights are expected to begin in the spring. Clark State's Precision Agriculture program currently has an enrollment of nearly 10 students.