DAYTON — Gov. Mike DeWine and other state and Dayton-area leaders celebrated an authorization from the Federal Aviation Administration that could spur development and bring hundreds of jobs to the Dayton-Springfield region.
The FAA has granted a “certificate of waiver or authorization” to the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory for beyond-visual-line-of-sight flight of unmanned aerial systems — also known as “drones” — at the Springfield-Beckley Municipal Airport.
The certificate was granted because of new technology, called SkyVision, which is designed to allow drones to detect and avoid other aircraft while in flight. Officials described SkyVision — an RV — as a $5-million air traffic control system for unmanned aerial systems, which will draw from the FAA’s systems at area airports.
Being allowed to fly drones beyond an operator’s visual line of sight greatly expands the kinds of research that can be performed in Southwestern Ohio. The unmanned vehicles will mostly be flown over rural or sparsely populated areas of Ohio, said Art Huber, deputy director of operations for AFRL.
“As our country steps more and more into the unmanned age of flight, this technology is on the forefront of the aviation frontier, making Ohio a critical national asset for the research and development of UAS technology…This is a major step in revolutionizing the transportation industry, with Ohio leading the way in aerospace, defense and aviation innovation,” DeWine said.
DeWine, along with Lt. Gov. Jon Husted and Republican congressmen Mike Turner and Warren Davidson, toured SkyVision Friday and spoke to a crowd of area leaders at the Springfield airport in celebration of the development. They all said that the certificate would likely bring more jobs to the region and one company has already signed on to conduct research.
Dayton-based VyrtX plans to conduct research at the airport for human organ delivery. VyrtX wants to be able to deliver drones along airborne routes resembling Ohio’s highway system, a goal the company envisions would eventually bring hundreds of new jobs to the region, said Alice Cummings executive vice president of marketing and finance for VyrtX.
“Ohio will be first…(to have) air corridors so you can actually move things on a path, sort of a highway in the sky kind of concept,” Cummings said.