TERRE HAUTE —
It may be another six months before officials at Terre Haute International Airport-Hulman Field and Indiana State University know if the Wabash Valley will be part of a Federal Aviation Administration test site for unmanned aircraft systems.
The two entities are part of what is called Indiana’s National Center for Complex Operations, which last month partnered with the state of Ohio, to pursue one of six sites the FAA will pick for developing unmanned aircraft system technology and operational procedures for such craft to routinely fly across the U.S.
Ohio offers test laboratories, and Indiana has restricted air space for test flights at locations such as Muscatatuck Urban Training Center and Camp Atterbury Joint Maneuver Training Center.
Terre Haute’s airport can be used as a launching site to reach those restricted air spaces, said Darrel Zeck, director of operations and development at the airport.
Terre Haute offers less congested airspace that other sites, is capable of landing nearly any sized aircraft, provides automated landing and takeoff systems, and houses air traffic controllers, which includes a training center for those controllers, Zeck said.
Growth in the multi-billion unmanned aerial systems industry is expected to skyrocket in the next decade. A test site would create jobs from contractors using the test sites, Zeck said.
Zeck said Friday that the Ohio/Indiana partnership was to submit a proposal by Sept. 18. The FAA, he said, has pushed that back.
“I personally believe we won’t see anything until after the [November] election, likely in early December,” Zeck said. It would then be another 90 days before the FAA rules on the six sites, he added.
If the Ohio/Indiana partnership is selected as a test site, Indiana State University would serve as a “gateway” for civilian organizations to use the airspace in Indiana, said Richard E. Baker, ISU assistant professor of aviation and program director of ISU’s Unmanned System and Human Capital Development.
“If a company wants to come in and use the airspace to do some training with their unmanned system, ISU will take a look at it and sponsor them into the National Guard,” Baker said.
“We would do a small risk assessment to make sure [an unmanned system] is air worthy and safe to fly and has appropriate plans and checklists in place,” Baker said.
Zeck said whether the Ohio/Indiana partnership is chosen as a test site designation, the Terre Haute airport is continuing a parallel path with ISU “working on unmanned systems and bringing that business and economic development to the state of Indiana,” Zeck said.
Baker said by year’s end, ISU plans to obtain a certificate of authority to fly small unmanned systems out of Terre Haute International Airport-Hulman Field.
“That will be very limited. They will look like toy helicopters and toy airplanes to most people,” Baker said.
ISU currently offers a minor in unmanned systems and will offer a bachelor’s degree in the fall of 2013, Baker said.
“We are working on the application of unmanned systems for the benefit of people in areas such as homeland security, first responders and agricultural applications,” Baker said.
“You could get a better crop estimate and look at things such as crop damage and disease. The advantage is it costs much less that hiring an aircraft with a person per hour,” Baker said of unmanned aircraft.
Unmanned aircraft can also fly on cloudy days, which can block the view for satellites, Baker said. Such unmanned flights could also be used to show flood damage or potential flood concerns, Baker added.
“We think the civilian and agricultural side will grow rapidly over time, especially after the FAA has figured out how to work them in the national airspace system. That is why we are involved in the Indiana/Ohio effort to get a test site in our state,” Baker said.
“We want to be on the leading edge of trying to make sure this is done safely in the national airspace,” Baker said. “The biggest task is to make sure there is an ability to keep an unmanned aircraft system safely in the national airspace with a sense and avoid system, which works the same as a manned aircraft which uses a see and avoid” system with a pilot, he said.
“The research is how is this going to work,” Baker said.
Reporter Howard Greninger can be reached at (812) 231-4204 or howard.greninger@tribstar.
Airport in running as test sight that could boost Terre Haute-ISU development
TERRE HAUTE —
Life-Size Ping Pong: Valley pickleball tourney draws large crowd to Brittlebank Park
It’s been described as “ping pong on steroids.”
Some people call it “life-size ping pong where you stand on the table.”
Boat trip aims to raise awareness about Lewy Body Dementia
In 2013, the Year of the River, it makes sense to link a grand adventure on the Wabash River with a good cause.
Legislature had little taste for alcohol bills
When it comes to alcohol, the 2013 legislative session may be marked more by what it didn’t do to boost booze sales than what it did.
STATE OF THE STATEHOUSE: Is it regulation that doesn’t make sense or evening the playing field?
I’m not much of a drinker, so I haven’t spent much time thinking about how Indiana’s alcohol laws personally impact me, but that changed last fall when my daughter got married.
For Piper: Annual ‘Rush the Punter’ event dedicated to Dixie Bee student who died Wednesday after a short illness
Steve Weatherford’s “Rush the Punter” fundraiser at Fairbanks Park on Saturday was dedicated to a little girl who lost her life unexpectedly to pneumonia.
Vigo schools prepare to tighten belts
State funding for the Vigo County School Corp. will remain “pretty flat” for the next two years, said Donna Wilson, chief financial officer.
Veterans take to the trees
Cristal Bednar took photos of her husband, Justin, as he laboriously climbed his way up a “Dangle-Duo” to get to a zipline at Indiana State University’s Sycamore Outdoor Center.
Property owner seeks halt to Hulman Lake dam project
A Terre Haute property owner is seeking an injunction that would at least temporarily halt the city’s work on the Hulman Lake dam project.
Tornado veterans balance preparedness, practicality
Few things in nature are less predictable than a tornado. They can form quickly. They strike weirdly, leveling one building while leaving its neighbor untouched. They can fling a car a half-mile and turn a piece of lumber into a wall-piercing missile.
ISU unveils interactive Bayh Family Legacy Wall at school
A who’s who of Indiana Democrats paid tribute to Evan Bayh and several generations of the Bayh family Friday during a dedication of a new interactive display at Indiana State University.
Can you smell me now?
A contraband cell phone has been discovered by the Vigo County Jail’s youngest and most unique officer.
GIVING BACK: Steve Weatherford buys shoes for kids day before charity run
Terre Haute’s Steve Weatherford, punter for the 2012 Super Bowl champion New York Giants, showed once again his generosity Friday by donating new athletic shoes to more than two dozen Vigo County kids.
N.Y. Giants honor Weatherford as ‘Man of the Year’
Dan Tanoos, superintendent of Vigo County schools, remembers the first time he saw Steve Weatherford as a freshman at Terre Haute North Vigo High School.
Sunday recital at The Woods
A recital featuring songs from well-known composers is at 7 p.m. Sunday in the Church of the Immaculate Conception at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods.
Police investigating rash of car window shootings
Terre Haute Police are investigating a rash of shootings that have shattered car windows throughout the city.
City hospitals get passing grades for patient safety
Two Terre Haute hospitals have been ranked for patient safety by an independent organization that assesses safety, quality and affordability of healthcare for Americans.
Three from Operation Turn and Burn sentenced in federal court
Three co-conspirators in a Wabash Valley methamphetamine trafficking ring were sentenced this week to several years in federal prison.
Skateboarders, BMX bike riders working to improve area of city park they use
The sound of small wheels rolling across smooth concrete fills the air, accented by the clacking noise of a wooden skateboard coming to an instant stop on a metal edge before rolling on again.
Indiana State to host 2014 MVC baseball tourney
Build it… and they will come. The Missouri Valley Conference and Indiana State University made that famous line from the movie “Fields Of Dreams” reality Thursday.
Overlay recommended for 812 area code
The state agency that represents Hoosier utility customers is calling for a ten-digit solution to southern Indiana’s vanishing supply of 812 area code telephone numbers.
Elementary school saddened by student’s death
A 9-year-old Dixie Bee Elementary student died unexpectedly Wednesday evening as the result of pneumonia, said Vigo County Coroner Susan Amos on Thursday.
Vermillion CSX crossings undergoing maintenance
CSX maintenance crews are working on railroad crossings between Dana and Chrisman, Ill. this week and next, a CSX official said Thursday.
Beware of scams everywhere
Ever get a phone call in the middle of the night from a person claiming to be your grandchild, who unfortunately has been jailed in Canada and needs bail money?
INDOT to start work on Indiana 163 in Vermillion County
Maintenance crews will begin a pavement preservation project Monday on Indiana 163, between Indiana 63 and the Illinois state line west of Clinton.
Union Hospital community garden spots now available
Community gardening spots are now available at the Union Hospital Community Garden for Wabash Valley residents interested in planting and maintaining a garden but may not have the space. The garden is located west of the intersection of North Sixth Street and Seventh Avenue in Terre Haute at 1430 N. Sixth St.
Correctional officer remembered at memorial
Greene County native and Wabash Valley Correctional Facility Officer Timothy Betts was honored during a memorial ceremony at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Money donated for Dresser sculpture
100+ Women Who Care of Vigo County on Thursday awarded a $20,200 grant to Art Spaces that will help make the Paul Dresser sculpture, “A Song for Indiana,” a reality.
Powerball jackpot quickly jumps to $550 million
The Powerball jackpot jumped to $550 million on Thursday — the third largest lottery in history — as dreamers in all but the seven states where the game isn’t played snatched up tickets for the minuscule chance at a life on easy street.
About 200 channel catfish find new home in Dobbs Park pond
About 200 channel catfish transferred into a new home at the Dobbs Park pond on Wednesday, but it’s unclear how long they’ll remain there. That depends upon the people fishing.
GED grads turn the tassels
Michelle McClendon’s first child was born when she was 15.
She tried to stay in school, but it was just too much, so she dropped out to take care of her daughter.
- More News Headlines
- Life-Size Ping Pong: Valley pickleball tourney draws large crowd to Brittlebank Park