Ethan Schreuder, a survey technician and UAS pilot for Beavercreek-based Woolpert, flies a company unmanned aerial vehicle. Using drones for mapping and surveying has become a part of the company’s daily business. TY GREENLEES / STAFF

Dayton region’s UAS growth gets spotlight this week

The sixth annual Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Midwest forum opens Wednesday, offering a chance to explore emerging UAS technology in Dayton and beyond.

The forum at Sinclair Community College will hear from a who’s who in the field of UAS, including Kerin Olson, of the Federal Aviation Administration Office of UAS Research; Reid Melville, the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) strategy lead for unmanned systems; and Matt Dillsaver, senior aerospace engineer at AFRL; and others.

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The idea is to explore how UAS will integrate better into regular airspace with piloted aircraft, what AFRL is working on when it comes to UAS — including its work in Springfield — and what opportunities there are for businesses in the “beyond visual line of sight” research in Springfield.

Breck Woodard — vice president for aerospace programs for the Dayton Development Coalition and former deputy commander at the 88th Mission Support Group at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base — is looking forward to the event.

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“UAS is a growing market right now nationwide,” Woodard said.

Dayton already has strong connections with AFRL and Springfield-Beckley Municipal Airport “We want to expand on that,” Woodard said.

One avenue for future growth will be beyond-line-of-sight research, the ability to fly drones beyond a pilot’s physical line of sight.

The Springfield airport may be months away from being certified by the FAA for that kind of research. The certification could happen in the fall or perhaps the early winter, Woodard said.

“From there, it’s just going to springboard,” he said.

To register for the forum or for more information, go to www.uasmidwest.org/

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