Thu, Jan 21, 2010
But Rules Still Prohibit Flight Within NAS
leaders near Dayton, Ohio, are working towards establishing the
region as a national center for development of Unmanned Air Systems
(UAS), but have been unable to get permission to fly UAV's in the
area, a development they say would be "critical" to their
With the Air Force likely to acquire an increasing number of
UAS's in the future that would be managed at Wright-Patterson Air
Force Base, Dayton businesses are lobbying for the ability to test
fly those aircraft near where much of the research and development
could take place. The ultimate goal, say business leaders, is an
influx of jobs to the area.
The Dayton Daily News reports that the Dayton Development
Coalition, along with the Air Force Research Laboratory, have been
in discussions with the FAA to allow simultaneous use of the NAS.
But the FAA has long been cool to the idea. They say the lack
of "see and avoid' capability on UAV's makes them incompatible with
manned aircraft flying in the same airspace. “As of
today, unmanned aircraft systems are not ready for seamless or
routine use yet in civilian airspace,” FAA Administrator
Randy Babbitt said during a speech to an aviation industry group in
Scottsdale, AZ in November.
THe UAS proponents say that "sense and avoid" capabilities
recently developed would allow the aircraft to land autonomously
should problems arise. They say these systems have advanced
to the point that the FAA's concerns could be addressed.
One developer working on UAV's that weigh under 100 pounds says
that an area as small as 20-30 square miles would be sufficient for
evaluating sensors and other equipment, and that other safety
measures such as radar to be sure collisions do not occur.
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