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Ohio competes to be one of six states with a commercial drone testing site
The Federal Aviation Administration is expected to make a decision soon about where to open up testing space
Story by LEWIS WALLACE


 
Frank Beafore with SelectTech Geospatial says the possibilities with commercial drones are endless.
Courtesy of Lewis Wallace/WYSO
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In The Region:

The Federal Aviation Administration is expected to make a decision soon about where to open up air space for the testing of commercial drones. For Ohio Public Radio, WYSO’s Lewis Wallace reports Ohio is competing to become one of six sites around the country.

LISTEN: The Federal Aviation Administration is expected to make a decision soon

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The possibilities for commercial drones are kind of endless. At least that’s what Frank Beafore of SelectTech Geospatial thinks.

"Disaster management, telecommunications, weather monitoring, making movies, environmental monitoring…"

At Beafore’s hangar at the Springfield airport, they’re working on designs that look like little helicopters and little planes. One model with four 'copter blades lifts off smoothly from the warehouse floor, looking like a souped-up kids’ toy.

Maurice McDonald with the Dayton Development Coalition says these machines could be a driving economic force for the greater Dayton area.

"The economic benefit is really only limited by our imagination."

He hopes there will be new jobs in research, manufacturing and operations. But first, the FAA must open up air space for testing as the agency gets ready to regulate the industry.

Southwest Ohio’s in the running against 23 other states, and if drone testing comes to the region, the hope is some companies will settle here for good. The FAA decision could come out as soon as this week.

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