UAVs Invited To Alaska

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While aviation groups and politicians in the Lower 48 worry about the increasing use of unmanned aerial vehicles, Alaska officials can't get enough of them. John Madden, who's in charge of homeland security for the Alaska area (and has not recently hosted televised football), told a Senate commerce committee hearing the skies over Alaska should be filled with UAVs because its wide-open airspace is an ideal testing area for all the ideas governments and companies are coming up with to use them for. "Only in Alaska can we test the full range of potential missions of UAS without immediately confronting the complex airspace found in most of the rest of the country," he testified. Madden told the senators UAVs could be used to help in search and rescue, scientific projects, pipeline patrol and a host of other missions that will test their capabilities. Alaska weather will also test the durability and reliability of the aircraft and equipment. In fact, weather has been the main problem with the relatively few UAV tests that have been tried there. Fourteen of 21 tests have been cancelled.