Some schools across the state are preparing students for a boom in the drone industry once the federal government, as is expected, allows civilian unmanned aircraft to fly in U.S. airspace.
The Federal Aviation Administration has until 2015 to present a plan for safely integrating drones into national airspace. Sinclair Community College already is training students for jobs using the technology, and Kent State University is doing the same.
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.
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.
NASA has selected an Ohio nonprofit organization to manage a contest aimed at helping unmanned aerial vehicles fly safely in civilian airspace.
NASA said Friday that it picked Development Projects Inc. in Dayton to run the competition involving the vehicles commonly referred to as drones.
The Dayton Daily News reports the contest is expected to draw competing teams from across the country to fly robotic aircraft in restricted airspace above the Camp Atterbury military operating range in southern Indiana.
All 11 members of the Indiana congressional delegation have co-signed a letter to federal officials supporting an Ohio-Indiana bid for one of six drone aircraft test sites.
The delegation wrote Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Federal Aviation Administration Administrator Michael Huerta, saying the two states have the military and civil resources needed to be a leader in unmanned aircraft systems.
Proposals were due Monday. The FAA is expected to select sites by the end of the year.