Researchers Conduct First Test Flight for Drone in Somerset Co. - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Researchers Conduct First Test Flight for Drone in Somerset Co.

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 CRISFIELD, Md.- If you were in the Crisfield area today, you may have seen an unmanned aircraft system (UAS) flying high about the Crisfield- Somerset County Airport.

A small team of researchers with the University System of Maryland conducted two test flights, each at least 20 minutes long.

The remotely operated UAS, or drone, designed by UAV Solutions was launched into the sky from a pickup truck traveling at the speed of an airplane flying 45 knots.

The Talon 240 weighs a little more than 100 pounds. The aircraft flew 1500 ft. high during its first test flight and 3,000 ft. high during the second flight. Curious onlookers were able to see the footage captured from the drone via  on-site monitors.

Matt Scassero, director of the University of Maryland UAS Test Site, said the systems are useful for safety and agriculture.
 
" Systems like this will give you the capability to see what a field's condition is at the moment, and then be able to apply the right fertilizers, pesticides and chemicals in the right amounts and in the right places," Scassero said.

In December of 2013, the Federal Aviation Administration awarded one of six bids to Virginia Tech, which partnered with University of Maryland, University of Maryland Eastern Shore and Rutgers University. Researchers are tasked to develop research on ways to safely integrate drones into commercial airspace.

Scasserso said there is little data on integration right now.

"The big issue is regulation,” he said. “One of the main focuses is to help the FAA figure out what the regulations should be for this type of aircraft."

Margaret Bush lives in Crisfield and finds the testing fascinating.

" It's exciting and I hope to see more of it," she said.

Terry Pehan supports the research too.

"We would welcome a high tech industry in this area," he said.

Scassero said 10 test flights will be conducted a month, but at different locations.


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