FAA

A retired Air Force drone is used in the classroom at Sinclair Community College.
Lewis Wallace / WYSO

Supporters of drone development are anxiously awaiting a first draft of Federal Aviation Administration regulations expected to come out soon. Right now hobbyists can fly drones—the industry term is unmanned aerial systems or UAS—but companies are prohibited from flying them outdoors unless they have special federal authorization for individual flights. The FAA said it would release a proposed rule by the end of 2014 to regulate commercial drones in U.S.

Woolpert gets its small drones from Florida-based manufacturer Altavian.
www.unmannedsystemstechnology.com

Commercial drones could be in Ohio’s skies sooner than expected, because the Federal Aviation Administration has granted a Dayton company an exception to the current ban on drones that aren't for government or recreational use.

sinclair
Flickr Creative Commons User Sinclair Library

The state may have been passed over as a drone testing site, but a Sinclair community college is moving full speed ahead on the development, teaching and application of drone technology.

Sinclair announced Monday that its workforce development office has applied for two new certificates of authorization from the Federal Aviation Administration to fly a new unmanned aerial system.

Lewis Wallace / WYSO

Right now, if you can spare the cash, you can buy your own drone—or unmanned aerial vehicle, as the industry likes to call them. You can buy local, too, because the Dayton area is trying to shape itself as a hub for the growing commercial drone industry. In a couple years local companies would like to be using them for agricultural purposes, emergency response, entertainment, even surveillance.

"The FAA really needs to address the procedures and policies associated with flying these systems," says Maurice McDonald at the Dayton Development Coalition.

Lewis Wallace / WYSO

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The Federal Aviation Administration is expected to make a decision soon about where to open up air space for the testing of commercial drones. Southwest Ohio is competing to become one of six sites around the country as the FAA prepares to regulate the commercial drone industry by late 2015.

This afternoon in Springfield the Ohio Department of Transportation will host an open meeting aimed at helping Ohio's publicly owned airports make their dollars go farther. In 2012, the Federal Aviation Association gave nearly $26 million and ODOT provided close to $725,000 in grant to Ohio's 97  public airports.

The state agency says that money didn't address all the needs of those airports.

Springfield's Director of Economic Development, Tom Franzen, feels airports could receive even less funding in the future.

Emily McCord

Unmanned Aerial Systems, or UAS, was the focus of an informational meeting Wednesday in Xenia. Ohio has partnered with Indiana and applied to become one of six national centers for unmanned systems and Congressman Mike Turner with the Dayton Development Coalition held the meeting to build awareness about what UAS could bring to Ohio.

The Ohio Department of Transportation has selected Springfield as the site for the Ohio/Indiana Unmanned Aerial Systems Center.  The center will be the hub for Ohio and Indiana’s joint operational efforts to become a test site for unmanned aerial systems.

The Unmanned Aerial Systems Center will be housed in the Nextedge Applied Research and Technology Park which sits on the eastern part of Springfield along Route 40.

ODOT will manage the Systems Center in Springfield, which has a two-year lease that will run until June of 2015 at a total cost of $70,000.