Warren “Bum” Rapp is in the pilot’s seat again.
This time, the retired military aviator is at the controls of Northern Nevada’s emerging program to develop commercial applications for unmanned aircraft commonly called “drones.”
The program he heads up is focused on business uses for unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs. That can mean anything from helping map potential mining acreage to improving agricultural concerns to nighttime aerial monitoring of wildfires.
The list of possibilities is long, Rapp believes, and his job, which he began last month, is to get the word out that Northern Nevada is open for businesses that can benefit from the emerging UAV industry. (He doesn’t use the “drone” term.)
His official title is Northern Nevada Range Coordinator for the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems, created after the Federal Aviation Administration in late 2013 selected Nevada and five other states as testing sites for developing unmanned aerial vehicles.
Nevada’s role is to help determine how the FAA’s air traffic control system will handle the unmanned aircraft flights and how to develop standards and certification procedures for their operators.
Research and testing will be done at four Nevada sites: Reno Stead Airport and Fallon Naval Air Station in the north and two locales in Southern Nevada overseen by a range coordinator there.
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