Daytona airport could become FAA testing site

for unmanned drones

Daytona Beach International Airport could become one of the Federal Aviation Administration’s testing sites for unmanned drones.
Though the drones are different than the military aircraft that are armed and used overseas, Channel 9’s Bianca Castro talked to an expert about the potential safety risks.

The FAA wants to put small drones in the central Florida sky by 2015. Airport officials in Daytona confirmed it’s looking at the possibility of becoming a site where the FAA will test how to safely fly drones in the same area as traditional planes.
The drones are typically controlled by operators inside a control room on the ground. The airport is working closely with Embry Riddle Aeronautical University on the project.
David Shulman has been flying unmanned drones for years, and he said they could be used to help fight fires or catch criminals on the run. Shulman said the drones could even be used by real estate agents looking for a new marketing tool.
But with new ideas come new concerns.

“The biggest safety concern, I think, would be interfering with other aircraft in the area, whether it be private or commercial,” said Shulman.
Until now, the FAA has banned the widespread use of drones. Now, however, it will pick six test sites to fully integrate the aircraft into national airspace in three years.
“There’s always the risk of them exploding or crashing or colliding with other aircraft,” said concerned resident Belinda Fyfe.
Miami police recently obtained a permit to start using drones.

Supporter Shawn Rowell feels the benefits outweigh the risks.
“Probably doesn’t worry any more than the pilots that are already flying already,” said Rowell.
The six programs chosen by the FAA will be up and running by the end of next year, officials said.


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