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Ohio In Running To Become Drone Testing Site

Ohio officials and aviation industry leaders are hoping the region is among those chosen by the FAA for the testing of commercial drone aircraft. The possibilities for commercial drones are kind of endless. At least that’s what Frank Beafore of SelectTech Geospatial thinks. "Disaster management, telecommunications, weather monitoring, making movies, environmental monitoring...," Beafore says. In a hangar at the Springfield airport, Beafore's company is working on designs that look like little helicopters and little planes. One model with four ‘copter blades on it lifts off smoothly from the warehouse floor, looking like a souped-up kids’ toy. Maurice McDonald with the Dayton Development Coalition says these machines could be a driving economic force for the greater Dayton area. "The economic benefit is really only limited by our imagination," McDonald says. He hopes there will be new jobs in research, manufacturing, operations. But first, the FAA has to open up air space for testing as the agency gets ready to regulate the industry. Southwest Ohio’s in the running against 23 other states, and if drone testing comes to the region, the hope is some companies will settle here for good. The FAA decision could come out as soon as this week.