14 Colo. areas proposed as drone testing ranges, FAA to pick sites for Unmanned Aircraft System, UAS

DENVER - Colorado is one of 24 states that has applied to host a drone testing range, according to the FAA.

The government is reviewing applications and plans to approve six test site applications for Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS).

The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reports the list of potential locations in Colorado include Mesa County, airspace close to Front Range airports and even some private ranches.

Last year Congress passed two pieces of legislation directing the FAA to create the test sites in order to integrate drones into our airspace by September 2015.

"The FAA wants to be assured that if there are unmanned or remotely piloted vehicles up in the air that they can react safely with other manned vehicles that are in the national airspace," said Kevin Carver, Director of the Clinton County, Ohio Port Authority.

FAA’s site selections are expected to be announced in December.

The vehicles could range in size from a hummingbird to a 7-10 foot wingspan and beyond. Depending on their size, fixed-wing drones are either hand-launched like a football or off a runaway like traditional aircraft. Other drones are helicopter-style aircraft with four blades.

One UAS company owner told the newspaper the drones can be used in civil applications such as inspecting oil and gas pipelines, mapping new drilling sites and checking crops.

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