Wilmington not picked as UAV test site

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

The Wilmington Air Park will not be a test site for for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced Monday.

Air park officials spent “considerable” time the past year working with the Dayton Development Coalition on the joint proposal from Ohio and Indiana to the FAA, which designated the test bed sites.

The air park would have provided one of three segments of airspace for UAV testing in the Ohio/Indiana proposal. The other two segments would have involved Springfield, Ohio air facilities and the Camp Atterbury complex, a training base for the Indiana National Guard in southern Indiana.

The purpose of the designated sites is to conduct test flights as the FAA seeks to safely integrate UAVs with other aircraft in the national airspace.

Air park officials have said in the past that being a test site probably wouldn't itself be a big jobs generator, but that it could help draw entrepreneurs and private companies to the site. The predictions are that the UAV industry is a growth industry, according to many observers.

The FAA announced Monday the sites will be based in Alaska, Nevada, New York, North Dakota, Texas and Virginia.

Drones have been mainly used by the military, but governments, businesses, farmers and others are making plans to join the market. Many universities are starting or expanding drone programs.

The FAA does not allow commercial use of drones, but it is working to develop operational guidelines by the end of 2015. Officials concede it may take longer.

FAA Administrator Michael Huerta says safety is the first priority in moving drones into U.S. airspace.

Look for an updated story as more details emerge in Tuesday's News Journal and online at