Leaps in unmanned aircraft technology have military auth-orities clamoring to use more drones for everything from coastal patrols and border surveillance to tracking natural disasters. But fears of midair collisions are slowing any broad expansion of their domestic use.
Federal Aviation Administration officials made it clear in a recent closed government conference that until the pilotless aircraft gain the high-tech ability to sense and avoid commercial aircraft and other airborne objects, the government is unlikely to allow them to operate much more freely in congested airspace.
By Lolita C. Baldor , The Associated Press
, April 25, 2009
As the swollen Red River threatened Fargo this spring, thousands of eyes were trained on the city’s miles of sandbag walls. But just in case the townspeople missed something, the eye in the sky was watching, too.
By Jim Suhr, The Associated Press
, April 18, 2009
Sen. Byron Dorgan and Gov. John Hoeven are urging federal officials to increase airspace for unmanned aircraft in the state.
Grand Forks Air Force Base has a new UAV mission, and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency has started using drones to help guard the U.S.-Canadian border.
Scrambling to meet commanders’ insatiable de-mands for unmanned aircraft, the Air Force is launching two new training programs, including an experimental one that would churn out up to 1,100 desperately needed pilots to fly the drones over Iraq and Afghanistan.
As many as 700 Air Force personnel have expressed some interest in the test program, which will create a new brand of pilot for the drones, which are flown by remote control from a base in Nevada. That new drone operator will learn the basics of flying a small manned plane, but will not go through the longer, more rigorous training that their fighter jet brethren receive.
By Lolita C. Baldor, The Associated Press
, October 24, 2008
The first steps in an Environmental Impact Study process to change the status of some airspace in North Dakota was taken by the U.S. Air Force in a series of meetings concluding here Thursday afternoon. The changes are necessary to create airspace where crews can train flying Unmanned Aircraft Systems.
The Air Force is preparing to study the potential environmental consequences associated with the proposed new mission of unmanned aircraft at Grand Forks Air Force Base.
Four public meetings in the area are set in October, in Grand Forks, Devils Lake, Langdon and Carrington.
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