Hyde County bids to host site for drone planes

By Jeff Hampton The Virginian-Pilot

Surrounded by open fields and set near the sea, Hyde County’s remote airport could become North Carolina’s first approved unmanned aircraft launching site.

Officials hope it’ll also be a place where a new industry takes off.

The state’s Division of Aviation is seeking an FAA permit to create a drone testing area at the airport along U.S. 264.

It would be three miles long, a mile wide and encompass the air space up to 5,000 feet, division director Richard Walls said.

Companies and government agencies could launch remotely piloted aircraft, including small helicopters – collectively called RPA – into the small air space, where it could test uses such as observing hurricane damage and inspecting power lines.