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Alaska chosen as drone test site

Posted: December 30, 2013 - 9:21pm

JUNEAU — News that Alaska has been chosen as a test site for the integration of drones into U.S. airspace is being welcomed by state political leaders.

U.S. Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, said the initiative will bring jobs, resources and a new mission to the University of Alaska system. It will also help lay the foundation for other new economic activity “and put our state on the world map when it comes to this exciting emerging technology,” he said in a statement.

Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, who is chairman of the Aerospace States Association, said drones can help save lives and promote scientific research and resource development in Alaska. He said in a statement that maintaining individual privacy and safety “continue to be our priority, and we’re working to ensure they are never compromised.”

The Federal Aviation Administration announced Monday that the University of Alaska was among six test-site operators chosen to research the requirements necessary to safety integrate drones, or unmanned aircraft systems, into U.S. airspace.

The Alaska Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration at the University of Alaska Fairbanks will oversee the work, which includes test sites in Alaska, Hawaii and Oregon. Center founder and director Greg Walker said the Alaska test sites will include work in the Interior on how to integrate drones in and around airports and at Prudhoe Bay, on how to safely integrate the technology into an industrial environment. He said the center was working with Oregon and Hawaii on what officials there want to do with their sites.

The proposal involves test sites near Pendleton, Tillamook and in central Oregon, Lt. Col. Alan Gronewold, an Oregon National Guard officer, told The Oregonian.

Walker said his team in Alaska has been far ahead of most of the rest of the country in studying how drone technology can be used for civilian activities. It has been researching the viability of use of drones for things like oil spill response, wildlife surveys, highway construction and fisheries management, he said.

FAA’s decision will open more opportunities to expand the research, he said.

The Alaska Legislature previously provided $5 million for drone research and development at the university. State Rep. Shelley Hughes, who co-chairs a legislative task force for unmanned aircraft systems, said the panel has been studying the state’s responsibility regarding privacy concerns and would make recommendations to the Legislature to protect the public.

“Alaska continues to be a leader in aviation, and this is the next wave,” she said in a statement. “It makes sense to use UAS for the dull, dirty, and dangerous tasks.”

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myron mcgahan
myron mcgahan 01/03/14 - 03:17 am
Alaska was chosen years ago for this!!

I'm not a good writer. Someone else is and hopefully they will contact my email... Hint..

We had a company that brought this idea for the
People of kenai, soldotna, and nikiski, over Sevan years ago

We had the one of the heads of building the IBM PC at the time, local edd help, and supposably political help haha.

If the political people would have helped this project it would be at all three airports, with good jobs and bringing something else to us all besides oil,and fisheries.

We went to d.c multiple times only to get the project thrown aside when it was an earmark.

This was listed as a project for the kenai peninsula.

I have to complain a little, as I read this article.
It was meant for fire service to save firefighters.
It was meant for research and volcanic study
It was meant to better research.
I feel and see their main utilization is for war.
We had the proper aircraft,robotics people,over 10 people to train local in this field and returning college graduates.

I have the paperwork, as I keep it all.

I think it's time we the people on the kenai peninsula work together so we are not so worried about cook inlet feeding our families,how long can it keep us going. Fisheries,oil. Look towards the future and get involved. Look at what our political people are really doing for us. I read where Alaskans need an all people bank. This is a great start.

Thank you for listening to my rant and rave!!

RaySouthwell 01/03/14 - 08:18 am
Public Bank of Alaska

Alaska is dependent on the Federal government for over 1/3 of Alaska's jobs. Another third is from big oil corporations. We act like paupers beginning others to establish an economy.

Banks have the privilege of credit creation. Banks send you new credit cards interest free for months. Good deal. The banks created the credit out of thin air. There is no money that you borrow. It's all credit. They make interest on money they do not have by giving you credit. 97% of our "money supply" is just digital in a computer.

Think what Alaska could do for our economy by taking control of our untouched resource called money. Banks are allowed to create credit 10 times the money they have in deposits.

Think what Alaska could do with our billions. Public Bank of Alaska.

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