FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) - All 11 members of the Indiana congressional
delegation have co-signed a letter to federal officials supporting an
Ohio-Indiana bid for one of six drone aircraft test sites.
The delegation sent the letter Monday to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood
and Federal Aviation Administration Administrator Michael Huerta on the day
proposals were due for test sites for unmanned aircraft systems.
"The states of Ohio and Indiana have both the military and civil resources
necessary to be a leader in the emerging UAS sector,” the delegation wrote.
Ohio is proposing that Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton become a
regional hub for drone development. The Indiana delegation’s letter also
said the Crane Naval Surface War Center in southern Indiana and NASA’s Glenn
Research Center in Cleveland also are conducting research and development
work for drones.
“Indiana is the perfect place for this to take place,” Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind.,
said in a teleconference with reporters, The Journal Gazette reported.
The letter promoted “the knowledge base of area pilots, researchers and
engineers already operating in the UAS aeronautical specialties,” as well as
11 universities in both states that are partners in the Ohio/Indiana
Unmanned Aircraft Systems Center & Test Complex.
The FAA is expected to select sites by the end of the year.
The FAA’s selection criteria include climate diversity. The letter said Ohio
and Indiana offer “a broad array of weather conditions, allowing for
adequate testing of aircraft and equipment in any weather conditions they
may experience throughout the national airspace."