New unmanned aerial testing, training facility proposed

Gallery ImageProvided photo Cyclone ADG designer Scott Rollefstad (right), works with assistant Matt Culbertson on the Cyclone-6, an unmanned aerial system designed to assist firefighters, police and other “guardian” personnel in providing intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance information at the scene of an incident. Cyclone will be among the first companies working with the Sierra Vista Economic Development Foundation as part of a testing and training program entitled Four Pillars.

SIERRA VISTA — Using some of the same people and agencies that sought to land federal designation as a test site for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), the Sierra Vista Economic Development Foundation (SVEDF) said Tuesday that it will provide businesses with testing and training facilities for commercial applications of UAStechnology at a site near Whetstone.

Mignonne Hollis, executive director of the SVEDF, said a Tucson-based company, Cyclone ADG, is among the first of several firms that plan to test its UAS product at local facilities. Cyclone is developing its system for safety applications, to assist firefighters, police, soldiers and other “guardians,” by providing them with “ … unmanned, intelligence,surveillance and reconnaissance, or ISR systems,” according to the company’s website.

The SVEDF has acquired a 160-acre parcel in the Whetstone area for its testing site, where it plans to develop two runways and construct a hanger, Hollis said. The foundation is also pursuing a partnership with the Southeastern Arizona Economic Development Group to include the Benson Municipal Airport as a second location for runway space, and may eventually include the Bisbee/Douglas International Airport as a third location, as the testing and training program develops

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