The fall out begins, most unsuccessful test site bidders have been congratulating the chosen six through gritted teeth. In his letter to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta, Congressman Turner tells it like it is and has in my opinion a fair point. It will be interesting to see the FAA’s response.
My favorite piece.
For years, the FAA has incorrectly viewed UAS as emerging technology when in fact private entities as well as public agencies like NASA and the Department of Defense (DOD) have been developing and utilizing these systems for decades. This research and development work has led to a highly experienced and niche workforce centralized in a select few communities around the country. One of those communities, Dayton, Ohio, participated in the test site selection process. In addition to being the birthplace of aviation Dayton is home to numerous DOD and private sector entities specializing in unmanned technology. The hardworking men and woman of organizations like the Air Force Research Lab (AFRL), located at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, have spent years advancing unmanned technology and addressing specific challenges such as Sense and Avoid, Airworthiness Certifications, and Command & Control.
I believe the decision by the FAA not to co-locate an unmanned test center with a community like Dayton could lead to redundancy and an inefficient use of taxpayer dollars by attempting to recreate already exisiting infrastructure and research initiatives. Most importantly, I believe the FAA’s site selections could lead to the development of an unsafe domestic airspace environment by not properly incorporating and utilizing the unique expertise of communities like Dayton. It is my firm belief that any matter involving the safety and security of the NAS should be undertaken by the most experienced and knowledgeable minds in the country. Unfortunately, the current plan does not appear to do that.
Read the full letter here.