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U.S. site selection for drone tests underway

By control on March 9, 2012

Unmanned aircraft aren't just for military uses anymore. With this in mind, the Federal Aviation Administration has started searching for six sites in the U.S. that can be used for testing unmanned aircraft. Congress has also asked the FAA to aim for a full integration of drones into the U.S. aviation landscape by 2015.

According to an FAA press release, the goal of the test sites is to allow for commercial unmanned aircraft operations, while developing a regulatory framework to govern these future commercial uses. Unmanned systems are currently used in law enforcement, firefighting and wildlife monitoring. Talk of unmanned cargo aircraft has floated through the industry for the past few years.

Michael Toscano, president of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, said that these test sites are the first step toward manned and unmannede aircraft operating in the same airspace.

“Unmanned aircraft will be the next big revolution in the aerospace industry," he said in a statement. "AUVSI applauds Congress’ foresight on creating these test sites, and looks forward to working with the FAA, aviation stakeholders and the general public to ensure UAS operations are conducted in a safe and transparent manner.”

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