The U.S. House of Representatives on Friday passed the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) bill that includes language to designate test sites for unmanned aircraft systems. The legislation could benefit the Wilmington Air Park if and when new sites are selected for future unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) testing.

If signed into law, the legislation would require the FAA administrator to establish a program to integrate the unmanned aircraft systems into the national airspace system. This program would take place in coordination with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the U.S. Department of Defense.

“If passed by the Senate and signed into law by the president, this legislation could greatly expand opportunities for Wilmington’s businesses and workers looking to make their mark in the growing field of unmanned flight,” said U.S. Rep. Mike Turner (Ohio-3rd District), who represents Clinton County in Congress.

Turner worked with the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee as well as other federal legislators to draft the UAV language in the bill. The language would create four new test sites for unmanned aircraft systems.

“The Wilmington Air Park can make a strong case as a future home for one of these new test sites. Ohio’s Third District is the birthplace of manned flight, and now with this legislation, it has the opportunity to be a pioneer in the field of unmanned flight,” Turner said.

Previously, the FAA Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2011 (H.R. 658) included no new test sites for unmanned aircraft.The legislative effort would allow the FAA to create the four test sites to study the effectiveness of allowing unmanned aircraft systems to share airspace as well as runways with commercial aircraft, according to a media release from Turner’s Washington, D.C. office.


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