Ohio community college pursuing drone testing

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DAYTON, Ohio (AP) -- The state may have been passed over as an FAA drone testing site last year, but a western Ohio community college is moving full speed ahead on the development, teaching and application of the technology.

Sinclair Community College announced Monday that its workforce development office has applied for two new certificates of authorization from the Federal Aviation Administration to fly a new unmanned aerial system at sites in nearby Springfield and Wilmington.

The Dayton Daily News (http://bit.ly/1hOp8FG ) reports that one of the certificates is for a Lockheed Martin "vertical takeoff and landing" vehicle.

Deb Norris, vice president of Sinclair Workforce Development, said adding a quadcopter to the fleet will help round out the practical and real-world experience for those participating in classes and programs at the Sinclair Unmanned Aerial Systems Training and Certification Center.

The vertical takeoff and landing capabilities of the new drone will provide training opportunities in smaller airspace areas where Sinclair's current fleet of three fixed-wing drones can't operate. The college already has FAA certification to fly the fixed-wing craft at Wilmington and Springfield.

Development officials in Ohio and Indiana have said they plan to operate their own test ranges for unmanned aircraft and seek ways to attract drone-related businesses after losing in their joint bid to be one of six FAA test sites.

The FAA announced last month that Alaska, Nevada, New York, North Dakota, Texas and Virginia will develop test sites for drones, a critical next step for the march of the unmanned aircraft into U.S. skies.

Ohio and Indiana had hoped to improve their chances by combining forces and setting up the Ohio/Indiana UAS Center & Test Complex based in Springfield, Ohio.

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Information from: Dayton Daily News, http://www.daytondailynews.com

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