DoD

May 24, 2013

Mississippi submits proposal for drone test site

Jeff Amy
Associated Press

Mississippi is bidding for one of six sites nationwide to test unmanned aerial vehicles, also known as drones.

The state submitted its proposal to the Federal Aviation Administration May 6, according to a Mississippi Development Authority.

State officials say the FAA should choose Mississippi because it has three manufacturers of unmanned aerial vehicles, as well as a flight laboratory at Mississippi State University. Congress has directed the FAA to use test sites to determine how to integrate current air traffic with unmanned vehicles. Today, such drones can only be flown with special permission, and can’t be used for commercial purposes.

“There’s a lot of potential out there for commercial use of unmanned aerial systems,” said Manning McPhillips, the chief administrative officer of the MDA. “This is a huge growth area in the aerospace industry.”

FAA spokesman Les Dorr said 50 sites in 37 states had indicated they would submit proposals. The FAA won’t finance the test, Dorr said, meaning bidders have to find some way to pay. McPhillips said Mississippi can use most of its existing assets at no cost, including airspace at Camp Shelby, Stennis Space Center and Gulf of Mexico test ranges controlled by the Air National Guard Combat Readiness Training Center in Gulfport.

“The beauty of this is there is no upfront cost to the state,” McPhillips said.

Mississippi State University would collect data from tests and conduct research, said David Shaw, the university’s vice president for research and development. He said research projects could include finding ways to improve communication between ground controllers and aircraft, encrypting control signals to prevent outsiders from hijacking a drone, and studies of how to improve the airworthiness of drones.

MDA officials said Camp Shelby’s more than 10 years of experience in safely operating drones is a big plus for Mississippi’s plan. They also cite the airspace over the Gulf of Mexico and MSU’s Raspet Flight Research Laboratory.

The idea is that the state would lay out the welcome mat for researchers who need time and space to fly their craft. Right now, air time in the United States is severely limited, said MDA’s Christine Pate.

“The fact that you can’t test is stymieing this industry that’s getting ready to explode,” she said.

The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International estimates that the unmanned aircraft industry would create more than 70,000 jobs in the first three years after the FAA allows normal commercial operations.

Today, Mississippi has about 250 jobs in the sector, including Northrop Grumman’s assembly facility in Moss Point, as well as Stark Aerospace and Aurora Flight Sciences at Golden Triangle Regional Airport near Columbus. Another 250 jobs are promised in the next two years, McPhillips said. But officials hope testing would allow them to multiply that figure.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Staff Sgt. 
STACI MILLER

Luke ‘deploys’ youngest Airmen

Staff Sgt.STACI MILLER Gabriel Gutierrez, age 5, son of Staff Sgt. Arlene Gutierrez, 56th Security Forces Squadron, gives high fives as he goes through the welcome home line during Operation KIDS Saturday at Luke Air Forces Bas...
 
 

Warrior ethos puts will to test

It is important for us as warriors to put our physical fitness test in proper perspective. Airmen need to be physically able to do their job, and currently the Air Force measures their fitness with a simple test. This article is not to debate if the current test actually gives an accurate indication of fitness...
 
 

You, too, can empower innovation

Innovation is the lifeblood of progress. Without it we wouldn’t have the automobile, airplane or computer. We may have never made it to an industrial revolution. At every level of our species, from the individual level to the societal level, compelling change is how we grow, and it is innovators that drive this. In the...
 

 
Staff Sgt. Timothy Boyer

CES inspects base infrastructure

Staff Sgt. Timothy Boyer Staff Sgt. Steven Stein, 56th Civil Engineer Squadron electrical subject matter expert, points out a damaged water heater Oct. 24 to Senior Airman Sandham Challis, 56th CES structural subject matter exp...
 
 

News Briefs October 31, 2014

Base-wide exercise The 56th Fighter Wing will conduct a base-wide exercise Wednesday. The exercise will include military and local, county and state law enforcement, and fire departments. On and off-base residents should expect traffic disruptions, gate closures or delays, and interruptions of customer service operations. Expect to see simulated explosions, smoke, role players depicting individ...
 
 
Courtesy photo

Airman changes lanes in life

Courtesy photo Airman 1st Class Kelton Rall Those who have had a hard life often say it is hard to overcome the past. “It’s almost like climbing out of a dark hole – one mistake and you fall deeper into the abyss,” said...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin