During this tornado season, emergency responders may have a new tool to respond should disaster strike: an unmanned aerial vehicle, wrote Molly McMillin in The Wichita Eagle on April 21. The Federal Aviation Administration is expected to issue a certificate, soon, that would allow a small Aerosonde UAV to operate in restricted airspace, enabling emergency responders to gain information about the scope of a disaster or where people may be trapped.
Kansas Adjutant General Tod Bunting envisions the day the state has unmanned aerial vehicles in every corner and region, he told an audience involved in their development and advancement at an April 20 UAV symposium in Wichita. The more affordable they are to buy and operate, the more they can be put in use, he said. “Give us something that’s quick and cheap, and smaller is better.”
Operating in U.S. airspace is the biggest obstacle to their use, experts said at the symposium. With the FAA certificate, however, they will be able to operate in a limited area north of Salina at Smoky Hills, an opportunity for companies to use the airspace to test UAVs, as well.