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Photo: David Sommerstein
Photo: David Sommerstein

Congressman hopes for drone test site

Congressman Richard Hanna is optimistic upstate New York will be able to secure a drone testing site under a soon-to-be-launched federal program.

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Reported by

Ryan Delaney
Reporter, The Innovation Trail

A coalition of universities and defense contractors put a bid in with the Federal Aviation Administration last month to get a drone test site.

The FAA is working on regulations for the domestic use of drones.

Hanna, a Republican from the Utica area, sits on the House 'Drone Caucus,' the group of lawmakers that pushed this program through Congress last year.

Hanna says the state has a great application with Fort Drum's Adirondack airspace. He won't be directly lobbying the FAA, "But we certainly can push the point, to the extent that we are on the Drone Caucus and we have the ability to write letters and talk, and talk up our community. We do that everywhere we can every day."

Hanna says last year he worked to have the number of test sites expanded from three to six.

Industry groups predict the domestic drone industry will create 70,000 new jobs in the next decade. Economic officials in New York hope getting a test site will bring a sizable portion of those to the region.

The sites will be named later this year.

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