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FAA clears Nevada for drone test-site flight

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 9, 2014 at 5:31 pm •  Published: June 9, 2014

RENO, Nev. (AP) — The Federal Aviation Administration has cleared Nevada to begin flying drones under a federal research program into unmanned aerial systems.

FAA officials announced Monday that the state was granted a two-year certificate of authorization to use an Insitu ScanEagle at a southern Nevada airport.

Plans call for the first flight to take place this summer at the U.S. Department of Energy-owned Desert Rock Airport in Mercury, which is 65 miles northwest of Las Vegas.

State and federal officials hailed the FAA's decision, saying it would pave the way for the future of commercial aviation in Nevada while providing a boost to the state's economy.

Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) are "the future of aviation, and there is no place better than Nevada to test these technologies safely, and at the same time, bring so many good-paying jobs to our state while doing so," U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said in a statement.

The burgeoning industry could one day produce thousands of unmanned aircraft for use by businesses, farmers and researchers.

Among other things, the research in Nevada will help develop policies and safety requirements so drones can be integrated into the national airspace system.

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