Will drones make Nevada’s economy soar?

The state is in the running to be a national drone test site

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The Federal Aviation Administration is weeks away from announcing where it will test unmanned aerial systems – drones capable of flying in situations that are too dangerous or mundane for manned aircraft.

Nevada is a strong contender. The state is home to hundreds of square miles of airspace far from population centers and already houses a military command center for unmanned aerial vehicles used by Creech Air Force Base. Nevada has experienced drone pilots and support companies that work with unmanned aerial systems. And the state has a variety of terrain and weather that make flying conditions ideal more than 300 days a year.

Civilian drone technology is expected to be a multibillion-dollar industry by 2025. State officials also hope it will be a key to diversifying Nevada’s economy.

“We have more UAV pilots here than anyplace in the world,” said Tom Wilczek, Nevada’s aerospace and defense specialist. “They’ve all resided at Creech or flew at Creech. We’re practically the birthplace of the industry.”

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