CARSON CITY, Nev. (MyNews4.com & KRNV) – The first drone testing site in Nevada has received the green light from the Federal Aviation Administration, nearly six months after the state was chosen to be one out of six states across the country to test drones.
Nevada is the third state to get their plans off the ground, starting with a Certificate of Waiver or Authorization at the Desert Rock Airstrip in Nye County, 65 miles north of Las Vegas. The certificate allows the State of Nevada to use an Insitu ScanEagle unmanned aircraft system, or drone, at the airport, which also serves as a National Nuclear Security site.
The ScanEagle has been used extensively for military purposes, but will be used in Nevada for commercial testing.
Aerospace and Defense Specialist Tom Wilczek said the ScanEagle will fly at or below 3,000 during a mock emergency drill this summer. "It gives basically, two values in two different ways."
Those two results is proving to the FAA that Desert Rock is a safe and responsible drone-test site, and training first responders to use drones efficiently in an emergency.
According to Wilczek, the ScanEagle tests will not impact civilians, because it is a federally secured airspace.
Wilczek said this is big step for Nevada as the FAA races to integrate unmanned aircrafts into the national airspace by September 2015. The first step was being chosen as a test site. "So now we're at the second step where the FAA has vetted us and says we're ready to go."
Although it took six months for Nevada to get the go-ahead, Wilczek said this is the first of many more drone-test flights that will begin to rush in. "This is a crawl, walk, run scenario. You have to learn how to crawl before you can walk."
There are three more designated test sites in Nevada that are yet to be operational test sites including Reno-Stead, Boulder City, and Fallon.