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Utah Applies To Become A Drone Testing Site

December 13 2013 - 9:55 am

KUTV UT, December 11, 2013, 10:09 p.m.

Utah Applies To Become A Drone Testing Site

(KUTV) Could drones soon be invading the skies over Utah? The Governor’s Office of Economic Development is hoping that will be the case.

Currently the FAA is looking for six testing sites across the country for the unmanned aircraft and Utah is one of 25 applicants.

The FAA is expected to make a decision by the end of the month.

“I’m very excited,” said Marshall Wright the director of the state’s Aerospace and Defense department. “The economic draw would be for aerospace companies to settle here in Utah.”

But don’t call them “drones” to Wright. He prefers the word, “Unmanned Aerial Systems”.

“A drone is a one purpose event,” said Marshall. “These are systems that can be used over and over again. So they are not drones.”

If Utah gets the bid the aircraft would be tested at four proposed sites. Those include Promontory, Delta, Milford, and Green River.

Wright believes Utah meets all the qualifications the FAA is looking for.

“We believe very strongly that Utah should be one of those sites,” said Wright. “We have a legacy in aerospace. We have the industry to support itthis is the right kind of climate. We have the terrain.”

Wright says there are about 70 companies already involved in making drones and colleges like UVU are developing and testing the aircraft.

By Dan Rascon

(Copyright 2013 Sinclair Broadcasting Group)