Sinclair secures UAV approval


Tristan Navera Staff Reporter-Dayton Business Journal

Sinclair Community College has earned clearance to fly unmanned aircraft at Wilmington Air Park.

The school announced Thursday it has received two Certificates of Authorization— or CoA’s — from the Federal Aviation Administration to fly UAVs in limited airspace in Wilmington. The two CoA’s allow the school to fly two unmanned aircraft; the Vireo and the SPEAR. Unmanned aircraft are typically called UAV’s or UAS’.

“UAS is a key industry moving forward for the Dayton Region and for the entire nation,” said Steven Johnson, president of Sinclair, said in a statement. “Our role as part of the UAS team here in Southwest Ohio is to serve as a convener and as a supplier of the workforce that this quickly developing industry will desperately need in the coming years.”

Sinclair’s board approved $1.4 million in funding for its UAV program earlier this year. The school is the first community college in the state to receive such a clearance to operate UAVs.

“The FAA’s approval for Sinclair will give a boost to the redevelopment of the Wilmington Air Park as well as advance the regional strategy to become a center for jobs that support unmanned aircraft systems research, manufacture, test, and training,” said Jeff Hoagland, president and CEO of the Dayton Development Coalition, in a statement.

The Air Park, which sits on 1,900 acres, has two runways, one of which is closed and has already been used for UAV testing by Air Force Research Laboratory, said Kevin Carver, executive director at the Air Park. AFRL flew several dozen missions there last year.

Right now testing of the unmanned aircraft is done on a limited basis under very restricted conditions using CoA’s.

The Dayton region, through the DDC, has been working to get areas in Ohio and Indiana area designated as an FAA test site, which would make it much easier to fly and thereby draw a whole crop of companies dedicated to designing and manufacturing the aircraft and other related products.