No ‘drones’ for Alpine

DroneAlpine may be out of the running in a competition for a federal unmanned aerial vehicle test site.

The Texas Municipal League announced last week it has adopted a resolution supporting the Texas A&M University- Corpus Christi application to the Federal Aviation Administration to be named one of six sites still in the running but the only one in Texas. There has been some controversy over the issue in Alpine with opponents citing both privacy and safety concerns. Some were worried that, even if the only UAVs here would be test vehicles without “spying” software on board, they still were concerned over the potential of a spying on the back yard picnic. Others worried that the unmanned aircraft could interfere with local air traffi c at Casparis Municipal Airport. “With the backing of Governor Rick Perry, we are the only site in Texas being considered,” said Dr. Luis Cifuentes, vice president of research, commercialization and outreach. “The resolution from the TML demonstrates the financial impact the FAA designation will have on every community in the state.” Corpus Christi Mayor Nelda Martinez, who also is TML presidentelect, said the TML endorsement should makefederal offi cials take notice. “

The strong show of support from Texas cities should be a tremendous boost to the state’s application,” Martinez said. “Texas has unmatched airspace, a strong business climate, cutting- edge research partnerships and broad public support from state and local governments, higher education institutions and the private sector.” The University’s Lone Star Unmanned Aircraft Systems Initiative and its 6,000 square miles of available airspace is in competition with 24 other locations around the country for the federal designation.

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