Drone Testing Coming to Wallops - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Drone Testing Coming to Wallops


WALLOPS ISLAND, Md. - The testing of unmanned drones is coming to the Wallops Flight Facility.  At the moment, there is no timetable for the testing to start, but Wallops has been chosen as one of six locations in the nation to develop a test site to test drones.

The FAA says the testing of the drones could open the door for a future of unmanned drones being a part of everyday commercial life.  The testing is something Betty Cross of Accomack County is looking forward too.

"I know there is opposition to some of this, but you know, we have to have progress and NASA is here and Wallops is here and we are fortunate to have them," said Cross.

The FAA said the drones scheduled to be tested at Wallops would be for commercial drones and not military, but Charles Snellings of Chincoteague still has his reservations.

"I would definitely like to see the drones tested further away.  Just this being a really local area, especially in the summer time, being so touristy, I think that testing them further away would be a good idea," said Snellings.

The FAA projects that within five years, there could be about 7,500 commercial drones in flight in the country.  It would be the research at Wallops that aims to make sure things resolve safely if a drone malfunctions while in the air.  And William Tucker of Chincoteague believes that testing can be done safely in Accomack.

"They've launched rockets and all that and they haven't dropped anything on us, so I don't see why something smaller than that would be an issue," said Tucker.

The FAA hopes the testing at the six locations throughout the nation will allow the organization to develop operation guidelines for the drones by the end of 2015.

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