Ohio Study to Guide Air Force UAS Flights over U.S.

Ohio Study to Guide Air Force UAS Flights over U.S.

Next year, the state of Ohio will complete a study designed to help the Air Force figure out its plan for flying unmanned aerial systems inside U.S. airspace.

This has become a controversial subject lately. Critics worry that the U.S. Military and other federal agencies will use battlefield-tested UAS to spy on American citizens. On the practical side, the idea of thousands of  flying machines of all sizes entering the country’s crowded airways is likely to create a lot headaches for air traffic controllers.

The Federal Aviation Administration recently projected that as many as 7,500 drones will be flying over the country within in five years. Companies like Amazon and Dominos Pizza are already dreaming of door-to-door, aerial-delivery service.


The Ohio Airspace Strategic Integration Study, known as OASIS, will help figure some of this out. The state-funded study kicked off in February 2012 and is intended to serve as a national model for the Air Force as well as federal, state, and local governments, aviation groups, academic institutions and private industry, according to Maurice McDonald, Executive Vice President for Aerospace and Defense of the Dayton Development Coalition, which is administering the study.

“The idea behind the study is to solve military airspace requirements in a way that meets the needs of other airspace users — that includes the Federal Aviation Administration and NASA, which are working with the Air Force in developing ways to integrate unmanned aircraft systems in the national airspace system,” McDonald said in a recent press release.

Last year, Ohio partnered with its neighboring state to create the Ohio/Indiana UAS Center and Test Complex to fly unmanned systems. The OASIS study will help determine the ultimate capabilities of the Center, including support of Air Force research and development flight test requirements. The Center has applied to the FAA to become one of the six national sites to test the integration of unmanned systems in the national airspace system.

“Ohio has complex airspace needs because of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, headquarters of the Air Force Research Laboratory, which is involved in research and development of unmanned aircraft systems,” McDonald said.

The study will leverage and expand the state’s capabilities, particularly in improving the ability of unmanned systems to sense and avoid other aircraft in the same airspace. The process has involved a review of the test plans of the Air Force Research Laboratory, interviews with laboratory program leaders on upcoming unmanned systems development, and examination of the Defense Department Science and Technology Strategic Plans.

The resulting recommendations are intended to guide the Air Force and the FAA in structuring new rules that will govern flying unmanned systems in the vicinity of Wright-Patterson, which is located outside Dayton, Ohio.

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How about the military/government put thousands of unmanned automotive vehicles on our public highways and make everyone that has a car buy an expensive electronic traffic collision avoidance system and limit where and how you can drive. That’s the freedom-removing, unfair burden that will be imposed on General Aviation if allowed.

Mr. Cat… If a semi-autonomous unmanned truck is cheaper to operate than a manned version, then you can expect semi-autonomous unmanned trucks will eventually dominate that business sector, though that may take a couple of decades. Likewise semi-autonomous unmanned surveillance aircraft, cargo aircraft, crop dusters, etc., will be soon be flying, and very few of the electorate will care much about how that constrains your VFR use of GA aircraft, or how it increases your costs. Eventually economics will overcome opposition. Follow the money, because whatever generates significant financial gain for those making the decisions will likely win out.

There is an underlying trend driving this. The capability/cost ratio of collecting, storing and processing information has been increasing with an increasing rate of change. And naysayers aside, that exponential growth trend shows no indications of slowing any time soon. Real advances in quantum computing is on the horizon 9however distant), and while the computer science associated with that is still very much in its infancy, there is likely very much to be exploited from the capability.

That exponential growth trend will continue for a long while, and regardless whether we like or dislike the outcome, that trend will force changes in business and society well beyond anything we have yet witnessed. I see it as analogous to evolution. Those better adapted to the change will win out, just as any subset of the population which avoids capitalizing on that trend will likely lose money and influence to those that do make use of it, will eventually fall far behind those who do make use of it. That is as true for nations as it is for businesses as it is for individuals, any subset. Ignoring the trend is to ignore reality.

Several generations ago many people complained about the freedom-removing, unfair burden that horseless buggies were putting upon the pedestrians and livestock of America.

How did that work out for them?

UAS are the future. At least the good people of Ohio and Indiana have the sense to get ahead of this and maybe make some money in the process.

On the plus side for you market forces will lower the price of small TCAS systems for GA.

This whole thing is a canard.
There is no technological reason for the AF that requires them to fly UAS’s out of WPAFB and over populated areas. They can easily fly them out of the existing test ranges in Nevada, California and others .. these are remotly piloted devices, remember?
History proves, over and over again, that our government WILL abuse this technology! It is only a matter of time. This is just the first step in the conditioning of the complacent and fickle American people to the idea that UAS’s in our sky’s are “normal” and that there is nothing we can do about them or the manner in which they are used.
BTW, are we, as a culture, really that driven by the need for immediate gratification, that we “need” to have our pizza’s and Amazonia delivered by UAS?? God, I hope not!

I’ts a darn ugly bird, I’ll say that! But having received a “generalized brief” on its capabilities…WHOA! go baby go!

I agree that it is easiet to not require travel to remote locations for testing…but testing has risks and belongs where danger is minimized. Ohio has some such “open space”, but there is considerable “fly-over” traffic with which to contend. Oh, yeah–that’s part of the experiment: See if Uninhabited Aircraft can get along with ones full of people and packages.

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