Lt. Gov. Treadwell Welcomes UAV Decision
December 30, 2013, Anchorage, AK - Lt. Governor Mead Treadwell welcomed the announcement today that the Federal Aviation Administration chose Alaska as one of six states to be a test bed to integrate unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or remotely piloted aircraft into civil airspace. The winning Alaska proposal includes use of ranges and resources in Oregon and Hawaii.
Lt. Gov. Treadwell is chair of the Aerospace States Association, which has advocated for the FAA's test bed program, and has helped Alaska and other states address privacy and constitutional issues related to UAVs.
"UAVs can help save lives, and promote scientific research and resource development here in Alaska," Treadwell said. "An unmanned vehicle can fly through volcanic ash clouds and into forest fires where it is not safe to send humans. They can provide observational warnings about marine mammals approaching offshore oil and gas fields. In a state as vast as Alaska, UAVs can give us information on what's happening with weather, climate, and other conditions in remote parts of our state.
"Safety and maintaining individual privacy continue to be our priority, and we're working to ensure they are never compromised," Treadwell said. "Alaska was a test bed for the next generation of air traffic control being adopted across the country. The FAA has learned Alaska airspace is a good place to advance safety for the nation."
Treadwell said many individuals and groups came together to support the Alaska proposal, made by the University of Alaska's Geophysical Institute's Alaska Center for Unmanned Aerial Systems Integration (ACUASI). An Alaska UAS Interest Group, organized by the State of Alaska, the U.S. Department of the Interior in Alaska, the FAA and the University, has hosted an annual workshop for the last seven years to help prepare for the new technology here.
According to the FAA, Alaska joins Nevada, New York, North Dakota, Texas and Virginia as testing grounds for UAVs. The Alaska-led team includes state agencies and companies in Oregon and Hawaii who joined Alaska's effort. In total, 58 companies and companies are part of the Alaska-led effort, according to ACUASI's Greg Walker of the University of Alaska.