College works with local unmanned aircraft company on new programs

Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier
Stephen Rayleigh, owner of SWIFT Radioplanes, right, demonstrates how the Lynx UAS, Unmanned Aerial System, tail comes apart for repair or storage while John Morgan, dean of the Yavapai College Chino Valley campus and Karla Phillips, assistant dean of the YC Chino Valley campus look on Thursday afternoon in Chino Valley.

Small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS), better known as drones, may soon be crisscrossing the skies over Chino Valley.

But they won’t be doing any spying. The sUAS are part of a new program under development at Yavapai College that would use UAS for safety programs, including fire sciences, emergency management and agricultural studies. The planes will be restricted to the 80 acres of airspace over the college’s agri-business property in Chino Valley as part of a recent Federal Aviation Administration agreement that allows the craft to operate below 400 feet.

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