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Unmanned aircraft industry praises bill’s signing

President Obama has signed legislation that gives the Federal Aviation Administration a deadline for authorizing the flying of unmanned aircraft in airspace now reserved for use by manned planes.

The Air Force, local companies and universities are working to build Dayton as a center of expertise, manufacturing and training for unmanned aircraft. Advocates have said it will be important for Dayton to have access to nearby designated airspace for flying the unmanned planes.

The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, a trade organization for the unmanned aircraft industry, said it is pleased with Obama’s signing on Tuesday of the legislation, which Congress enacted to provide long-term funding for the FAA. Congress included language in the bill that requires the FAA to ensure the safe integration of unmanned aircraft systems (the aircraft and their sensing devices) into manned airspace by Sept. 30, 2015.

A key to that effort is developing what is known as sense-and-avoid technology that will enable unmanned aircraft to recognize oncoming planes and automatically change course to avoid collisions.

The legislation requires the FAA to produce a comprehensive plan within nine months for integrating the unmanned planes into manned airspace.