Thursday, January 2, 2014

Why Alaska Will Become the Drone Capital of America

A different kind of "Palindrone" emerges, thanks to Arctic reconnaissance and oil spill cleanups

When the word “drone” makes the news, it usually means that someone far, far away has just been blown to pieces.

Yesterday was a little different.

The Federal Aviation Administration announced on Monday its long-anticipated list of states that will serve as test sites for the next generation of drones. To be clear, these aren’t your military-grade drones. These are the friendlier, nonlethal commercial drones. (Think Amazon, not Afghanistan.)

Topping the list of approved sites was Alaska, which wasn’t much of a surprise to those who follow drones: Alaskans have had a long-standing love affair with drones. (No, we’re not talking about those “Palindrones.”)

Alaska is roughly double the size of Texas, has few roads, and in many ways has become “an aviation-centric state” out of necessity. The state also has about six times more pilots per capita than the rest of the nation, and those men and women might find themselves guiding the next generation of drones.

For the rest of the story:

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