Drones

FAA picks UAV test sites

unmanned plane

The Federal Aviation Administration has named six sites that will host testing for unmanned aerial vehicles, part of the agency’s plan to integrate UAVs into the national airspace system over the next decade.

The winning hosts are: the University of Alaska; the State of Nevada; Griffiss International Airport in Rome, N.Y.; the North Dakota Department of Commerce; Texas A&M University’s Corpus Christi campus; and Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg.

“Today’s announcement by the FAA is an important milestone on the path toward unlocking the potential of unmanned aircraft,” Michael Toscano, president and CEO of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International said in a statement. “From advancing scientific research and responding to natural disasters to locating missing persons and helping to fight wildfires, UAS can save time, save money, and, most importantly, save lives.

The FAA said it will use the testing to develop requirements and standards for the aircraft.

The FAA’s drone roadmap, unveiled Nov. 7, outlines its approach to ensuring safety as the use of unmanned aircraft expands. Several companies – including major online retailer Amazon -- have already announced plans to employ drones as part of commercial ventures.

Several states and localities lobbied hard to host the sites -- 25 applications from 24 states were filed, and applicants were eager to claim the jobs and economic benefits expected to accompany the testing. A study by the state of Utah – which was not one of the sites chosen -- showed a potential gain of 23,000 jobs and $23 billion in economic impact over 10 years.

About the Author

John Bicknell is a former executive editor of FCW, and the author of America 1844: Religious Fervor, Westward Expansion, and the Presidential Election That Transformed the Nation.

FCW in Print

In the latest issue: Looking back on three decades of big stories in federal IT.

Featured

  • FCW @ 30 GPS

    FCW @ 30

    Since 1996, FCW has covered it all -- the major contracts, the disruptive technologies, the picayune scandals and the many, many people who make federal IT function. Here's a look back at six of the most significant stories.

  • Shutterstock image.

    A 'minibus' appropriations package could be in the cards

    A short-term funding bill is expected by Sept. 30 to keep the federal government operating through early December, but after that the options get more complicated.

  • Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco

    DOD launches new tech hub in Austin

    The DOD is opening a new Defense Innovation Unit Experimental office in Austin, Texas, while Congress debates legislation that could defund DIUx.

  • Shutterstock image.

    Merged IT modernization bill punts on funding

    A House panel approved a new IT modernization bill that appears poised to pass, but key funding questions are left for appropriators.

  • General Frost

    Army wants cyber capability everywhere

    The Army's cyber director said cyber, electronic warfare and information operations must be integrated into warfighters' doctrine and training.

  • Rising Star 2013

    Meet the 2016 Rising Stars

    FCW honors 30 early-career leaders in federal IT.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group