ITD joins effort to land unmanned aircraft industry

Idaho is ideally positioned to become a national test center for the burgeoning unmanned aircraft industry – a message state officials delivered this week at an exposition in Washington, D.C.

ITD’s Aeronautics Administrator Mike Pape joined a delegation from Idaho to at the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International's (AUVSI) exhibition this week in Washington, D.C. (See related story)

The goal, Pape reported from the exposition center, is to sell Idaho as a place for unmanned aircraft and aerospace development. “Our goal is to have the Federal Aviation Administration designate Idaho as an Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Center for Excellence.”

The message is clear: “Land. Here.”

“We want to make sure Idaho has a role in the rapidly developing industry of unmanned aircraft,” Pape said. “As part of that effort, we are one of about 13 states in the running to become a test center.”

He said the Idaho National Laboratory has been flying unmanned aircraft for about a decade and is ideally positioned to become one of the FAA centers.

Representatives from the Idaho Department of Commerce, INL, ITD and the private sector sponsored a booth at the exposition. Four educational institutions also support the effort: Boise State University, Idaho State University, the University of Idaho and North Idaho College.

Pape was among the speakers at the four-day event.

He said the FAA intends to announce its selection of test centers in December.

Published 8-16-13