Oklahoma hopes to lure more drone tests, expand aerospace sector

Governor, others tout the local aerospace industry.
BY BRIANNA BAILEY bbailey@opubco.com Published: December 16, 2013
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— Oklahoma could know by year's end whether it will be chosen as a site for federal tests on the safety of unmanned aircraft, or drones, for domestic use, Gov. Mary Fallin said Monday.

Oklahoma is vying to become one of six Federal Aviation Administration sites to test the safety of unmanned aircraft.

Expanding Oklahoma's aerospace sector is crucial to diversifying the state's economy, Fallin said during an event organized by the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber.

“The aerospace sector is one of the top five economic silos and is key to continue (growing) our economy,” Fallin said during the State of Aerospace luncheon at the Reed Center in Midwest City.

Fallin has been an aggressive campaigner for growing Oklahoma's aerospace sector. In June, she led a state delegation to promote Oklahoma to aerospace companies at the Paris Air Show.

“We had a lot of companies that were interested in Oklahoma,” Fallin said. “The goal is to attract more investment to the state and create more jobs.”

The aerospace industry already has indirectly or directly created 150,000 jobs in Oklahoma that generate nearly $12 billion in economic activity for the state, Fallin said.

Oklahoma is well positioned to become a leader in the burgeoning unmanned aircraft industry, Fallin said.

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