You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.

X

Welcome to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

Sinclair cleared to fly UAVs at Wilmington Air Park

FAA allows college to fly 2 unmanned aircrafts at the park.


Sinclair Community College has secured authorization from the Federal Aviation Administration to fly unmanned aerial vehicles in airspace at Wilmington Air Park — a step congressional leaders touted as important to the region’s economic development.

The new designation opens a second site for Sinclair to fly drones and comes just months after the college committed $1.4 million to expand UAV training programs. The certificate of authorization allows the college to fly two state-of-the-art unmanned aircraft at the park and is in addition to approval Sinclair already has at Springfield-Beckley Municipal Airport, said Deborah L. Norris, Sinclair’s vice president for workforce development.

The designation could boost Ohio’s chance to land one of six FAA sites to test UAVs and integrate the unmanned aircraft into civilian manned airspace by 2015, according to Maurice “Mo” McDonald, Dayton Development Coalition vice president of military affairs. Ohio submitted a joint application with Indiana to the FAA in May.

“It sets a precedent here for us in the state of Ohio and the Dayton region that we are leading (UAV development) in the country,” he said.

The FAA test site designation could attract more than 2,000 high-paying jobs to the area and boost the region’s spot in the unmanned aerial systems industry, which is expected to exceed $94 billion worldwide by 2020. With uses in disaster response, agricultural surveying and other areas, more than 105,000 jobs related to drones could be created in the United States in the next 15 years, according to the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International.

The region has tried to position itself as a leader in UAV development in the hopes to bring more jobs to the area. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration selected the area as the single location to launch a $1.5 million two-year contest to develop unmanned aerial systems technology.

At Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, the Air Force Research Laboratory has pushed the development of sense and avoidance technology, a crucial ability to allow UAVs to navigate in civilian airspace. The University of Dayton Research Center for UAS Exploitation, the 711th Human Performance Wing at Wright-Patterson and Defense Research Associates in Beavercreek are some of the organizations that have led cutting edge UAV-related research.

Sinclair is among only a handful of colleges nationwide to offer drone training programs, and the first community college in Ohio to receive a certificate of authorization from the FAA. President Steven Johnson said the college’s role is to be “a supplier of the workforce that this quickly developing industry will desperately need in the coming years.”

Under the certificate of authorization, a FAA-certified pilot must operate the aircraft within sight and students can observe, Norris said. Sinclair also will be able to partner with businesses looking to test the drones and their sensors, she said. For instance, one of the college’s certificates of authorization covers a UAV with a 30-inch wingspan partially manufactured locally by SelectTech Geospatial, which has its main manufacturing facility at the Springfield airport.

“Without airspace, you don’t fly,” Norris said. “This allows us, following FAA guidelines and requirements, to be able to operate. This signals to the marketplace that this is really an important strategic initiative to us.”

U.S. Rep. Michael Turner, R-Dayton, said the FAA selection of Sinclair recognizes the area’s UAV technical expertise.

“I certainly believe it establishes a record of both capability and assets within our community that have been identified as essential for advancing UAV studies and technologies,” he said in an interview.

Ohio’s two U.S. senators said the certificate, which is good for two years, was important to establish the region as a national leader.

“As the FAA moves forward in establishing six national test sites for UAS integration, this should further demonstrate our region’s capacity and experience in safely flying unmanned systems,” Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said in a statement.

“Not only will this new air space strengthen the Unmanned Aerial Systems program at Sinclair, it gives the college the opportunity to partner with industry and help bring new economic development to the area,” Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, said in a statement.

Norris said obtaining the designation for the Wilmington Air Park took eight months.

“It is going into national air space, so it’s a big deal,” Norris said.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in News

North Carolina man who plotted ISIS-inspired terror attack sentenced to life in prison
North Carolina man who plotted ISIS-inspired terror attack sentenced to life in prison

A judge sentenced a Morganton, North Carolina, man to life in prison Tuesday morning at the federal courthouse in Asheville. Justin Sullivan, who was 19 years old when he was first arrested in 2015, pleaded guilty last November to one count of attempting to commit an act of terrorism transcending national boundaries. He told the FBI he was a converted...
WATCH: Irish reporter posts video of 'bizarre moment' with Trump in Oval Office
WATCH: Irish reporter posts video of 'bizarre moment' with Trump in Oval Office

Irish reporter Caitriona Perry shared video Tuesday of what she called “the bizarre moment” when President Donald Trump waved her over to his desk in the Oval Office during a call with Ireland’s new prime minister, Leo Varadkar.  As Trump chatted with Varadkar, he made Perry a topic of small talk by asking her a few questions...
Jenna Bush Hager explains how her daughters remind her of herself and sister Barbara
Jenna Bush Hager explains how her daughters remind her of herself and sister Barbara

While speaking with People magazine, Jenna Bush Hager opened up about her daughters Poppy Louise, 22 months, and Margaret Laura “Mila,” 4, and how she sees her younger self in them. “Yesterday, Mila said, ‘It’s my room, my rules,’ and I flashed back to when I was 16 and tried to say things like that to my parents...
Summer Arts Festival presents Joe Mullins and his band
Summer Arts Festival presents Joe Mullins and his band

Joe Mullins is out to prove the bluegrass is always greener than people expect. The leader of award-winning bluegrass band Joe Mullins and the Radio Ramblers likes to both entertain and inform. “First impressions mean a lot,” he said. “If it’s not quality music, I can see that. My lifelong mission is to kill stereotypes. I&rsquo...
Summer Arts Festival attractions

Summer Arts Festival attractions Week 4 Thursday, June 29, 5:30-7:30 p.m.: Live on the Terrace, Bob Ford Thursday, June 29, 8 p.m.: Bluegrass in the Park! Joe Mullins and the Radio Ramblers and The Boxcars Friday, June 30, 7 p.m.: Live on the Terrace, The TAC Choir Friday, June 30, 8 p.m.: Phil Dirt and the Dozers Saturday, July 1, 5:30-7:30 p.m.:...
More Stories