Unmanned aircraft/drones to be flight tested around the country….

They are still a long ways off from being accepted by the Federal Aviation Administration for operation in the nations airways….

The only ones allowed  are the Government’s military type large Predator and Global Hawks ….

The testing will be small airports…..

All of the aircraft will have to certified GPS users…

While the public is mostly aware of drones like Predators, Global Hawks and other high-altitude, long-range planes operated by the government, Monday’s announcement covers commercial and private aircraft that come in a variety of shapes and sizes.

These include electric helicopters that a landlord could use to inspect a rooftop water tower; midget helicopters that a utility line worker starts by yanking a cord like the one on a chain saw, which can fly close to power lines; and Styrofoam planes that run on lighter fluid and can fly over fields to look for agricultural pests. Police and fire departments are among those eager to operate drones.

Competition to host the test sites was fierce, with state economic development agencies predicting that a major industry was developing.

The six winners, chosen from a field of 25, included Griffiss International Airport, a former Air Force base near Rome, N.Y., and Virginia Tech, which will fly in Virginia and has an agreement with Rutgers University in New Jersey for testing there as well. Virginia Tech plans to conduct “failure mode” testing, meaning what happens if the aircraft’s control link is lost.

The others were the University of Alaska, which plans to test in Hawaii and Oregon as well as Alaska, the State of Nevada, the North Dakota Department of Commerce, and Texas A&M University Corpus Christi. Michael P. Huerta, the administrator of the F.A.A., said the sites provided a diversity of geography, climate and air traffic density.

Mr. Huerta said the choice of the six institutions is a major milestone for the aircraft, whose proponents prefer to call them “unmanned aerial systems.”


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