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Nevada Designated as UAS Test Center

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 30, 2013

Las Vegas: The face of aviation is changing across the United States. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today announced that Nevada has been selected as one of six locations to be a test site for conducting critical research into how unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) can be integrated into our national airspace.

Nevada received this designation according to the Governor’s Office of Economic Development because it offers great opportunity for training, software development and data centers in addition to unmatched testing sites at places such as Nellis Air Force Base, the Nevada National Security Site and Reno-Stead Airport.

“With the climate and air space of Nevada, we are uniquely equipped to help expand the development of UAVs,” Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval said. “We have also partnered with private industry and academia to establish the curriculum necessary to create the UAS civilian workforce of the future in Nevada.”

Researchers at the Desert Research Institute (DRI) are exploring ways in which unmanned aircraft systems are increasingly being used in civilian government work as well as the private sector for use in applications as diverse as cloud seeding to fighting forest fires.

DRI has partnered with the private industry and academic institutions to conduct research on civilian applications. Our experts are available for media interviews:

Dr. Lynn Fenstermaker is serving as the DRI representative for UAV activities with a focus on linking faculty expertise with UAV needs and interests of business and government entities. She has experience and interests in the use of remotely sensed data to map, monitor, and assess the effect of environmental stressors on vegetation at small and large scales. She worked with UNLV to develop a Class I UAV platform that has been used for the past seven years to acquire multispectral and color images of research plots to assess hot spring biofilms, climate change treatment effects and basic plant cover information. She is currently working with other faculty to develop a “next gen” DRI UAV platform.

Dr. Jeff Tilley has over 28 years of professional experience in basic and applied weather and climate research. His wide range of experience and interests include numerical weather prediction (including applications to weather modification, Arctic regional climate, unmanned aircraft systems and road weather), cloud processes, convective storms, near-surface meteorology, data assimilation, mountain meteorology, transportation weather applications, land surface processes, air-sea interactions, roadway friction, and tropical cyclones. His work has been presented in over 120 scholarly journals, conference preprints and presentations, and technical reports.

Dr. Alan Gertler is the Vice President of Research and Chief Science Officer at the Desert Research Institute.  He is also the Senior Director of DRI’s Clean Technologies and Renewable Energy Center, the organizational umbrella under which all of DRI’s renewable energy research, education, and outreach are conducted.  His research includes both laboratory and field studies of atmospheric chemistry with particular emphasis on the impact of mobile sources on the environment.

About the Desert Research Institute: DRI conducts cutting-edge applied research in air, land and life, and water quality across Nevada, the United States and on every continent.


All DRI news releases are available at news.dri.edu

Note to Reporters and Editors: DRI, the nonprofit research campus of the Nevada System of Higher Education, strives to be the world leader in environmental sciences through the application of knowledge and technologies to improve people’s lives throughout Nevada and the world.

 

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