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FAA's first drone in Nevada crashes after takeoff | News

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FAA's first drone in Nevada crashes after takeoff

BOULDER CITY, Nev. -- The Federal Aviation Administration authorized the first drone to fly in Nevada as part of the federal drone test site program.

“They will be able to do their flights here at this test site in order to prepare themselves to go through the final certification process in order to operate commercial use,” said Glen Martin, Regional Administrator Western Pacific Region Federal Aviation Administration.

The agency is issuing a Test Site Special Airworthiness Certificate to "Magpie," a drone built by the company Sensurion.

“Magpie is a tough little bird that is sort of native to Colorado,” said Joe Burns

CEO, Sensurion Aerospace.

Earlier in the day, Magpie soared in the Nevada sky and became the first FAA certified commercial unmanned aircraft. However, the second test flight ceremony in Boulder City didn't go as planned for federal regulators.

While the media and dignitaries like Gov. Brian Sandoval, Sen. Dean Heller and Rep. Joe Heck looked on Magpie nose-dived into the ground seconds after it took off.

There wasn't any damage to the equipment. An electrical problem was blamed and the ceremonial flight was scrapped.

Governor Sandoval calls the drone test historical despite the mishap.

“We really see this as an opportunity for our state to lead. It was very competitive and there were over 40 states that were competing for one of these six spots,” Sandoval said.

Nevada is one of six states chosen last December as national sites for drone testing. Alaska, New York, North Dakota, Texas and Virginia were the others.

Magpie runs on an electrical drive system and it can fly for two hours. Burns said the primary use for the drone will be surveillance.

The FAA does not currently allow commercial use of drones, but plans to gather data from test sites to develop operational guidelines by the end of 2015.

Gov. Sandoval expects the unmanned aerial industry to grow in Nevada eventually generating billions of dollars and thousands of jobs.

of dollars and thousands of jobs.


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