Silver Springs Airport selected as drone operation site

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Updated: 1/31 9:44 pm
SILVER SPRINGS, Nev. (Mynews4.com & KRNV) --Just over an hour south of Reno, down a long stretch of Highway 50, you’ll find the Silver Springs airport.

Primarily used for general aviation and small prop planes, Silver Springs Airport has been selected by the Nevada Institute of Autonomous Systems as an operations location for Unmanned Autonomous Vehicle Systems.

Nevada was recently selected as one of six locations to be a development center for "unmanned aerial vehicles."

Kay Bennett runs the airport, and was one of the driving forces behind the Nevada Institute of Autonomous Systems selecting of the airport.

“It’s such an honor, such a privilege to be selected,” said Bennett.” We think we are going to be able to add some stature and prestige to our airport, to Lyon County, and hopefully, be the prototype.”

Shortly after Nevada was selected to be one of six states that would act as development centers for unmanned aerial vehicles, otherwise known as drones, Silver Springs Airport was eyed as a prime location. The effort came about through the partnership of Lyon County, the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED), and Northern Nevada Development Authority (NNDA).

“We looked at them at we said this would make a great UAV testing site, says Maurice Washington of the Northern Nevada Development Authority. “There’s so many other potential opportunities out there, so we grabbed a hold of it, and we pushed for it as far as we could get it.”

Due to the low density population in the area and the low volume of aircraft that fly in and out of the airport, Silver Springs is the perfect location for an unmanned aircraft operations site.

Lyon County Manager Jeff Page says that he can see nothing but good things coming from this development.

“We’re anticipating and hoping that it will bring us some opportunity to not only the Silver Springs area but to all of Lyon county to have new facilities.”

Page also wants to remind people that they shouldn't assume that drones mean combat, “When people think drones, they think predators, they think Pakistan and Afghanistan, they think missiles. When I look at drones, I’m looking at how we can use those for public safety, search and rescue.”

As for Kay, she’s just happy that all of her hard work has finally paid off.


“It just means so much to us, to our community. To help raise the standards of what we can do and the excitement for the airport, I’m just thrilled. ”

The unmanned aircraft that will be operated out of Silver Springs could be sued of a wide variety of uses such as agriculture, search and rescue and helping to fight wildfires. The different agencies working on the project hope to break ground on the Silver Springs airport site within the next 3 to six months.

Additional sites will include Stead, Boulder City, Desert Rock and Fallon. There could be thousands of jobs, with an average wage of about $62,000 per year, and an estimated $2.5 billion in economic impact.

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Here are the most recent story comments.View All

buacl - 2/1/2014 10:25 PM
0 Votes
drones have been here and flying in reno for 2 years or so. they sound like a moped on redbull. they seem to go before the helicopters.

FranzMach3 - 2/1/2014 5:19 PM
1 Vote
I am told by a reliable source that 00 buckshot is the best remedy for drones. However, my neighbor believes that 0.5 cal. BMG is actually better, if you can put the rifle on an anti-aircraft azimuth-elevation mount. Will there be a reward for bringing down the greatest number of drones per season? When is the drone hunting season, exactly?

Speed - 2/1/2014 12:55 PM
1 Vote
I didn't see anything in the story indicating they would or wouldn't be spying on the residents;I'm sure they'd SAY they have no intention of doing that,but who can you trust anymore? As I understand it,this is an independent business developing drones for eventual sale to the Government and law enforcement agencies.I'm inclined to think eventually they'll get down to using the various systems on citizens' homes just to get "real time" practice and results to check their work. BTW-Don't bother shooting 'em down-no matter HOW you cook 'em,they taste terrible.

benbowp - 2/1/2014 11:56 AM
0 Votes
Fantastic! Hopefully these Drones will help deter Potheads and Drug Dealers from coming up from Las Vegas or California into the Reno area.

nubgnngs42 - 2/1/2014 11:31 AM
0 Votes
Rats a little income to Lyon County. How dare they do that. And as for Jets and Helos, "Pardon our noise, It's the sound of FREEDOM". I guess Meth Labs and drug deals are more to your liking and support. These seem to be Silver Springs' reputation. Well earned from what I've heard.

J Jay Ross - 2/1/2014 6:45 AM
2 Votes
"...When I look at drones, I’m looking at how we can use those for public safety, search and rescue.” When I look at drones; I see invasion of privacy: thermal imagers that can "see" through walls of homes, backyard spying, following of vehicles and cars, FLIR (night vision capabilities), etc. There's an old law enforcement saying: "If you follow someone long enough, you'll catch them doing something illegal" And for those who say "if you're not doing anything wrong, then you have nothing to fear" To which I say, NSA. Cell phone, I-Pad, Home PC monitoring of e-mails, texts and phone calls. Unconstitutional.

4me2knw - 1/31/2014 10:58 PM
0 Votes
So does this mean the next time we dial 911 not only will we get the fire truck, ambulance and 4 or 5 cops, they will be accompanied by a drone too?

wilson - 1/31/2014 9:35 PM
2 Votes
Isn't this a great revelation? Guess the high speed jet aircraft from NAS Fallon flying low level over the Fernley area aren't enough. Include the low flying helicopters from NAS Fallon, add a few Drones and there goes the neighborhood. I hope they fly them over Jeff Page's house every day, after all he sees nothing but good from this, MONEY!!! Other than fly them around they will I'm sure be taking pictures of all of us. Big Brother again! Wow, I can't wait!
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