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FAA Picks 6 Drone Testing Sites

by Mike Hoffman on December 31, 2013

Fire ScoutThe Federal Aviation Administration announced the first six organizations that will be able to conduct research and development of drones.

FAA officials announced Tuesday that the state of Nevada, New York’s Griffiss International Airport, the North Dakota Department of Commerce, Texas A&M University and Virginia Tech and the University of Alaska will be the first to be allowed to conduct drone testing.

FAA administrator Michael Huerta called the announcement of the testing sites a major milestone toward integrating drones into U.S. airspace. The FAA has been working to determine the manner in which it wishes to mix drones into the U.S. air picture. Plenty of officials are still nervous about mixing drones with manned aircraft.

The six winners were picked from 25 different applicants. The authorizations granted by the FAA are good through 2017.

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{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

hibeam December 31, 2013 at 5:02 pm

I'm not seeing Pakistan on this list.


Hector Q January 2, 2014 at 11:37 am

I'm also surprised that Deer Trail, Colorado didn't make the cut.


guest December 31, 2013 at 5:57 pm

Given how Obama has used the IRS to silence his political opponents, don't be surprised if the Red states, ie Texas, North Dakota, Alaska take some hits. Gov Rick Perry better carry something bigger than a .380.


rtsy December 31, 2013 at 7:10 pm

The IRS "scandal" was manufactured by some of those Red State Representatives in congress. That's why no one talks about it anymore.

If anything, these sites will test how much spying on Americans can be increased through sharing drone info with local police, taking us further down the road of being a police state.


oldsarg January 1, 2014 at 12:15 pm

The IRS admitted to targeting Conservative groups so how is is made up by Rebups?


SJE January 1, 2014 at 2:25 pm

The IRS itself found that one office was going too far, and corrected it, and that is how the Congress found out. It was worthy of complaint by the GOP, but not the screaming hysteria that the KenyanMuslimSocialist is about to wage secret drone war on the good Christians of heartland America. We'd take the complaints more seriously if the complainers were a little more grounded in reality.


oldsarg January 1, 2014 at 2:36 pm

"It is the duty of the patriot to protect his country from its government."~ Thomas Paine

Viq January 2, 2014 at 2:16 pm

SJE has a point. It should be noted that the IRS also targetted groups that had the word "Occupy" or "Progressive" in the their name. So the IRS was going after liberals as well. It wasn't a great program and it's good that it got corrected, but it wasn't a witch hunt to get conservatives.

Musson January 2, 2014 at 10:22 am

The IRS has now become the enforcement arm of the DNC. It will remain that way until large numbers are perp walked. You can down click me but it is true.

Prior to this administration – the power of the IRS was used against powerful enemies of the Presidency. The Obama Administration has enlisted the IRS to go after regular working people.


Kurt Montandon January 1, 2014 at 1:30 am

>Given how Obama has used the IRS to silence his political opponents

Hey look, something completely made up from someone too cowardly to use their real name.

No surprise from a likely Teabagger.


oldsarg January 1, 2014 at 12:17 pm

"The Internal Revenue Service on Friday apologized for targeting groups with “tea party” or “patriot” in their names, confirming long-standing accusations by some conservatives that their applications for tax-exempt status were being improperly delayed and scrutinized.

Lois G. Lerner, the IRS official who oversees tax-exempt groups, said the “absolutely inappropriate” actions by “front-line people”.


SJE January 1, 2014 at 2:29 pm

So? If the boss is complaining about something, its better to just apologize and move on, even if the boss is wrong. How many soldiers are going to tell a Colonel to his face, in front of everyone, that he's wrong?


oldsarg January 1, 2014 at 2:41 pm

It is just as the courts have found "the justification for acts done pursuant to orders does not exist if the order was of such a nature that a man of ordinary sense and understanding would know it to be illegal."

guest January 2, 2014 at 12:33 pm

Kurt, besides being a man of no class you also are of below average intelligence. Insults such as teabagger are homophobic in nature so you end up insulting two categories of people. All because you are clueless on what the IRS has admitted to doing, what Obama said was inexcusable and what has been proven to have occurred with massive document dumps of IRS correspondence.
You have a name, I chose not to expose myself to the mob, such as yourself, who are unprincipled, hateful and of low IQ.


Hammer6 January 1, 2014 at 11:42 am

MA co-submitted an application with NY. Does anyone know to what extent any testing will happen in MA?


Mitch S. January 2, 2014 at 12:25 am

If there are problems with the navigation control then some may happen in MA
and in VT, and in Canada…


Lance January 1, 2014 at 4:23 pm

Skynet next…. and over your head to boot.


Michael Shatto January 1, 2014 at 11:19 pm

Massive Government spying worldwide….
Drones coming to American airspace….
Is Skynet here?


Jim Palazzolo January 2, 2014 at 12:01 pm

no Skynet's not here – yet…huge improvements in defining consciousness and life are needed in order to mirror it via AI. Now… you can make a program that targets warm blooded creatures and works to eliminate them all lol.

Personally – I work in cyber sec and I'm more concerned with hacking into drone networks than the drones themselves…just like I'm more concerned about the individual(s) carrying the gun then I am a gun. I'm not so sure we are ready for this, but big business will force it down our throats either way. I just hope that something doesn't go awry and we hear on the news about a rocket strike from a drone that wipes out a playground.

From a maintenance perspective the chances of a drone falling on someone in their backyard is probably in the same general vicinity of anything airborne and man made falling on your neighbor.


steve black January 2, 2014 at 12:16 pm

Now we know how the rest of the world feels.


hibeam January 2, 2014 at 3:09 pm

Now when company A needs the widget prototype from company B a tiny drone will fly it 20 miles across town instead of the fat guy in the SUV. And this is a bad thing?


Jim Palazzolo January 2, 2014 at 3:26 pm

It doesn't really matter if it's a bad thing or a good thing – it's just going to be…we'll get bad and good effects from it. For example: folks will lose their jobs and other will gain jobs in the drone industry – a good/bad thing…


SJE January 2, 2014 at 5:10 pm

I predict that it will get bogged down in regulations, like most things in the USA. The FDA just shut down 23-and-me because apparently I am not allowed to get my genetic testing direct from them, but must spend thousands of dollars to go through a doctor. Its for my protection, you see.


Jim Palazzolo January 3, 2014 at 9:47 am

Right – lol – there's also the regulations thing =)


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