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Ohio Gears Up For FAA Decision On Drone Testing

Tuesday, December 10, 2013 at 4:50 PM

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Photo by John Biehler on Flickr. http://www.flickr.com/photos/retrocactus/9449391330/sizes/m/in/photolist-fp1AQb-c3hpX7-

The Federal Aviation Administration is expected to make a decision soon about where to open up air space for the testing of commercial drones. From Ohio Public Radio member station WYSO, Lewis Wallace reports Ohio is competing to become one of six sites around the country.

The possibilities for commercial drones are kind of endless. At least that’s what Frank Beafore of SelectTech Geospatial thinks.

“Disaster management, power line surveys, telecommunications, weather monitoring, aerial imaging and mapping, television news coverage, making movies, environmental monitoring, oil and gas exploration,” Beafore said, offering a list of possible uses.

At Beafore’s hangar at the Springfield airport, they’re working on designs that look like little helicopters and little planes. One model with four ‘copter blades on it lifts off smoothly from the warehouse floor, looking like a souped-up kids’ toy.

Maurice McDonald with the Dayton Development Coalition says these machines could be a driving economic force for the greater Dayton area.

“The economic benefit is really only limited by our imagination,” McDonald said.

He hopes there will be new jobs in research, manufacturing, operations. But first, the FAA has to open up airspace for testing as the agency gets ready to regulate the industry.

Southwest Ohio’s in the running against 23 other states, and if drone testing comes to the region, the hope is some companies will settle here for good. The FAA decision could come out as soon as this week. 

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Economy, Government/Politics, Science, Technology

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