Push is on to make Inyokern a hub for UAV development

By John V. Ciani Daily Independent

Ridgecrest, Calif. —

The Federal Aviation Administration is hunting for six sites to act as research and development hubs for unmanned aerial vehicles.
The Indian Wells Valley Airport District Board of Directors is pushing to make Inyokern Airport one of those sites.
Board President Mark Backes said a committee met with groups from the unmanned aerial systems (UAS) community and participated in a webinar.

“They’re looking to designate six sites to become test sites for developing the integration of the UAS into the airspace,” he said. “In July, if they actually come out with a proposal, we can respond to how we’re going to do this.”

The FAA issued requests for commitment, a precursor for a formal request for proposal, which is where sites will submit their actual bids to be one of the six chosen.

Backes said the sites should be designated by the end of the year.