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Public Statements

Letter to Ray LaHood, Secretary of the United States Department of Transportation and Michael Huerta, Administrator of Federal Aviation Administration - UAS Test Site

The Indiana Congressional delegation today sent a letter to Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Ray LaHood and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Administrator Michael Huerta expressing strong support for the Ohio/Indiana bid to be selected as one of six Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) test sites chosen by the FAA.

In the letter, the members write, "The states of Ohio and Indiana have both the military and civil resources necessary to be a leader in the emerging UAS sector, and the Ohio/Indiana Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Center & Test Complex is well suited to serve as one of the six UAS Test Sites required by the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012." The delegation added, "The Ohio/Indiana proposal projects that key research and development activities associated with a test site will attract additional suppliers and manufacturers, contributing to significant economic development and job creation not only in Ohio and Indiana but throughout the Midwest."

The full text of the letter follows:

May 6, 2013

The Honorable Ray LaHood
Secretary
United States Department of Transportation
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590

The Honorable Michael Huerta
Administrator
Federal Aviation Administration
800 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20591

Dear Secretary LaHood and Administrator Huerta:

We are writing to urge you to give full consideration to the application of the Ohio/Indiana Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Center & Test Complex. The states of Ohio and Indiana have both the military and civil resources necessary to be a leader in the emerging UAS sector, and the Ohio/Indiana Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Center & Test Complex is well suited to serve as one of the six UAS Test Sites required by the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (Public Law 112-95).

The Ohio/Indiana proposal fulfills the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) goal to develop regulatory standards to foster UAS technology and operational procedures, and also will add to the data the FAA requires to permit future UAS operations in the National Airspace System (NAS). This joint effort focuses critical resources on UAS research, development, testing, manufacturing and training to the benefit of Federal, State and commercial users. The Ohio/Indiana proposal is uniquely suited to carry out its efforts in close proximity to a diverse and powerful team of FAA partners already conducting research and development work for UAS integration, including the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Glenn Research Center, and the Naval Surface War Center Crane Division (NSWC Crane). By locating significant UAS research and development in proximity to these facilities and their contractor base, the Ohio/Indiana proposal creates a new and efficient airspace model that leverages the existing ground infrastructure and research, development, and technologies needed for the integration of UAS technologies into the NAS. These include sense and avoid technologies at AFRL, secure command, control and communication technologies at NASA Glenn Research Center, and intelligence and information technologies at NSWC Crane.

The Ohio/Indiana proposal also fulfills the FAA's need for geographic and climactic diversity in its testing area. The Ohio and Indiana region represents a broad array of weather conditions, allowing for adequate testing of aircraft and equipment in any weather conditions they may experience throughout the national airspace. The region currently hosts robust UAS operations utilizing existing access to restricted airspace and existing Memorandums of Agreement (MOA) and certificates of waiver or authorization (COA). With more than 1,000 sorties flown in the proposed airspace last year alone, the knowledge base of area pilots, researchers and engineers already operating in the UAS aeronautical specialties brings extraordinary understanding, commitment and a proven track record of performance and safety. In addition, because academic involvement is vital to maintaining next generation technology, the Center has partnered with 11 universities, comprising most of the major institutions of higher education, in Ohio and Indiana.

The UAS industry is projected to become a $94 billion industry by 2020, and the industry projects job growth in the field will grow at 3.5% to 4.5% a year through 2025. The Ohio/Indiana proposal projects that key research and development activities associated with a test site will attract additional suppliers and manufacturers, contributing to significant economic development and job creation not only in Ohio and Indiana but throughout the Midwest.

As you know, the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 establishes a tight schedule for the development of plans to integrate UASs into the National Airspace System. The selection of the Ohio/Indiana UAS Center & Test Complex would significantly enhance the FAA's ability to create the policies needed to meet the diverse national interests associated with these aircraft in a safe and timely manner. Thank you for your consideration of our views, and we stand ready to assist you or your staff in any way should you have additional questions.

Sincerely,

Dan Coats
United States Senator

Joe Donnelly
United States Senator

Pete Visclosky
Member of Congress

André Carson
Member of Congress

Marlin Stutzman
Member of Congress

Larry Bucshon
Member of Congress

Todd Rokita
Member of Congress

Todd Young
Member of Congress

Susan W. Brooks
Member of Congress

Jackie Walorski
Member of Congress

Luke Messer
Member of Congress


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