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.
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.
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.