FAA skips Oklahoma in drone test site selection

Oklahoma will not be home to one of the six FAA test sites for unmanned aircraft.
by Adam Wilmoth Modified: December 31, 2013 at 11:00 am •  Published: December 30, 2013
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Oklahoma will not be home to one of six FAA test sites for unmanned aircraft.

The Federal Aviation Administration said Monday the sites will be in Alaska, Nevada, New York, North Dakota, Texas and Virginia, dashing the hopes of Oklahoma officials who hoped the state would be included.

“We are disappointed, but the strategic plan the state put in place did not have this as a key component,” said Stephen McKeever, the state's secretary of science and technology.

“We're still going to move forward with our plans to develop this industry anyway. Since we already have one federal test site through the Department of Homeland Security, we'll be continuing to move forward anyway.”

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security last year chose Oklahoma for its unmanned aircraft testing and training facility. The Oklahoma Training Center-Unmanned Systems facility near Elgin tests systems to aid in public safety drone missions.

The competition for an FAA test site included 25 entities in 24 states, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said during a call with reporters on Monday.

Gov. Mary Fallin and her administration have sought to develop the unmanned aircraft industry in Oklahoma.

The efforts have included establishing a graduate program at Oklahoma State University in unmanned aerial systems. Eighteen Oklahoma-based companies already are actively engaged in the industry.

“This doesn't deter our plans for Oklahoma to become a major unmanned aerial systems center in the U.S. for both commercial and military applications,” Fallin said in a statement Monday. “Oklahoma already has established a national reputation as a great place for UAS testing and investment.”


by Adam Wilmoth
Energy Editor
Adam Wilmoth returned to The Oklahoman as energy editor in 2012 after working for four years in public relations. He previously spent seven years as a business reporter at The Oklahoman, including five years covering the state's energy sector....
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This doesn't deter our plans for Oklahoma to become a major unmanned aerial systems center in the U.S. for both commercial and military applications.”

Gov. Mary Fallin,

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