After year of growth, Nevada’s drone industry anticipating more opportunities

It was a big year for Nevada’s drone industry.

Local drone officials say they spent 2016 putting Nevada on the map, and they now hope to build on that momentum in 2017 and create more areas for drone operators to fly.

“We’ve developed new (test) ranges all across Nevada and outside of Nevada,” said Chris Walach, director of operations for unmanned aviation at the Nevada Institute of Autonomous Systems.

The institute works with the governor’s economic development office and acts as a clearinghouse for drone-related business opportunities.

Nevada, one of the seven Federal Aviation Administration-designated unmanned aerial system test sites, completed many firsts in 2016, such as working with Henderson to develop the country’s first urban UAS test range. The FAA and NASA tapped the institute to lead several high-profile operations in 2016, such as testing technologies that air traffic control could use to detect unmanned aircraft that pose a threat.

Walach began directing drone operations at the institute in August 2015. During the first eight months of 2015, its previous team conducted only five unmanned aircraft flights, Walach said.

“Going from five flights to almost 870 flights (since August 2015) with the new permanent staff, there’s really not even a comparison,” he said.

Walach said he hopes to raise Nevada’s profile even more to attract other business opportunities, although Walach said it will take several years — perhaps up to a decade — before Nevada’s drone industry can realize its full potential.

Drone operators are still limited to flying them within the operator’s line of sight, which limits business opportunities. As an FAA-designated test site, the institute is working to mark its place in the race for which test site can come up with the best beyond-visual-line-of-sight infrastructure model for the FAA.


 


The institute will also work with the FAA and airport authorities to open up more airspace.

Ron Futrell, spokesman for Las Vegas-based aerospace and remote sensing services company AviSight, said limited air space is the biggest barrier for the commercial drone industry.

“That’s the one thing right now that’s slowing down the industry more than anything else,” Futrell said, adding that rural space is not an issue, but he would like to be able to fly a drone over the Strip.

The FAA restricts drone and model aircraft within 5 miles of airports, although some operators have been able to get around that.

“But it’s very rare and few and far between where you are able to do that. Those restrictions, for the most part, are still in place. That makes it difficult, especially here in the Vegas Valley, where we have three airports,” Futrell said.

Walach said he believes over the next year, Nevada airport officials will play a role in loosening those restrictions.

“You will see that airport officials across Nevada that do open up their airspace have found viable means to be able to effectively integrate manned and unmanned into the same airspace,” Walach said. “As you see more of these examples (of approved test flights) and case examples out there, I believe that the officials will realize it can be done and it can be done safely.”

Futrell agrees that air space will open up as trust is developed between reputable operators and air traffic officials.

In the mean time, local commercial operators have opportunities to grow in emerging drone industries, such assisting with inspections and construction.

“We do think that that’s a growth area because the use of drones is multifaceted. It can be used from everything from simple photography to monitoring construction sites to building information management,” said Colin Snow, founder of a research and consulting firm for the commercial unmanned aerial system industry, Skylogic Research.

Snow said it’s too early to say how much money lies in each of those industries, but he said 43 percent of drones purchased that are intended for commercial use are for aerial photography and videography, followed by survey and mapping (16 percent), then inspection and monitoring (13 percent).

Contact Nicole Raz at nraz@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4512. Follow @JournalistNikki on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Business
Elaine Wynn continues her fight to change Wynn Resorts board
Elaine Wynn, the largest shareholder of Wynn Resorts Ltd., is seeking to kick a friend of her ex-husband Steve Wynn off the company’s board of directors. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Zillow is getting into house flipping in Las Vegas
Las Vegas Review-Journal real estate reporter Eli Segall says flipping houses has waned in popularity after the housing bubble burst.
Ellis Island Buys Mt. Charleston Lodge
Ellis Island, which operates a casino, brewery and hotel just off the Strip, purchased the Mt. Charleston Lodge in early April.
Casinos to be penalized for allowing drug-impaired customers to gamble
Nevada Gaming Commission Chairman Tony Alamo talks about an amendment making casinos subject to the same disciplinary standards of preventing people to gamble if impaired by drugs as they are for letting them play while intoxicated by alcohol.
Terrible Herbst to open large travel center in Southern Nevada
The 50,000-square-foot commercial travel center will include 96 fuel pumps and the third White Castle restaurant in Southern Nevada. Wade Tyler Millward reports.
Art Bell’s Top 10 Shows
A selection of radio host Art Bell’s most popular shows.
Hooters owner talks about room upgrades at his hotel-casino
George Ruff, founder and senior principal of Trinity Hotel Investors L.L.C., owner of Hooters Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, talks about recent room upgrades at the hotel. K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Passengers Discuss Allegiant Air
Allegiant Air passengers voice their views on the airline at McCarran International Airport on April 16, 2018. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Longtime Las Vegas attorney John Momot dies at age 74
Criminal defense attorney John Momot, who represented mob figures and even played himself in the movie “Casino,” has died.
Trump Slams Amazon for Not Paying Enough in Taxes
Trump Slams Amazon for Not Paying Enough in Taxes Trump tweeted his concerns about the company on Thursday. This isn't the first time Trump commented on the issues via Twitter. August 2017 December 2017 Amazon did hold back on paying state taxes in 1995, but the company has been routinely collecting state sales taxes since then. In 2016, the company's report from the Securities and Exchange Commission confirmed it paid $412 million in taxes.
David Copperfield in court after man injured during magic trick
The attorney for a British man who is suing illusionist David Copperfield said his client suffered serious injuries after being called on stage during Copperfield's show at MGM Grand.
eyecandylab CEO shows augmented reality during NAB
Robin Sho Moser, CEO and co-founder of eyecandylab gives an augmented reality demonstration at his booth during the National Association of Broadcaster Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center. K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Trends in access to capital for local black business owners
Denette Braud, owner of Braud’s Funnel Cake Cafe, talks about what owning her own business means to her.
Sir Richard Branson announces purchase of Hard Rock Hotel
Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, has acquired the Hard Rock Hotel with partners and plans to turn it into a Virgin-branded property by the end of 2019.
Calvary Christian Learning Academy, “There was no fair warning.”
Samantha O’Brien, whose three-year-old daughter attended the Calvary Christian Learning Academy daycare, found out Monday night when her daughter’s teacher called about the school closing.
Adobe unveils #HackTheBracket application for March Madness
Adobe unveiled their #HackTheBracket application at the Adobe Summit trade show at Sands Expo. People can use data from Adobe Analytics to make their bracket for March Madness. K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Adidas Signs Yankees' Star Aaron Judge
Adidas Signs New York Yankees Star Aaron Judge The slugger is set to don a new set of stripes this season after signing with the apparel company. Aaron Judge Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The deal includes branding on his batting gloves and wristbands. Judge, the AL's reigning Rookie of the Year, was previously under contract with Under Armour since 2014. Judge won the American League Rookie of the Year award last season after setting an MLB record for most homers in a rookie season (52).
Esports athletes are sponsored, too
Meet Red Bull-sponsored professional esports player Daryl S. Lewis, better known by his in-game name Snake Eyez. Nicole Raz Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Bettor Investments turned into a bad bet
Bettor Investments formerly operated a Nevada-licensed entity betting operation. The company promised “conservative growth, profits and stability for our investors.” Matt Stuart, who ran the fund, shut it down in late 2016 and never made good on an agreement with shareholders.
Starbucks Will Give You $10 Million for a Better Cup Design
Starbucks Will Give You $10 Million for a Better Cup Design Get your thinking caps on because the company is looking for a new cup that's easier to recycle. The $10 million grant challenge sees Starbucks partnering with investor group Closed Loop Partners for the project. According to CNN Money, Aside from the new cup design challenge, Starbucks stated it will test a cup with an inner lining made from plant fibers to prevent hot liquid from leaking. Will you join the challenge for #Bettercups?
Las Vegas bartenders who worked the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival question what they were paid
Reneé Black, left, and her husband Griffin Black talk to the Review-Journal at their home in Las Vegas, Tuesday, March 6, 2018. Reneé was a bartender at Route 91, and Griffin was a bar back. They were hired as independent contractors, but received forms months later indicating they were employees. They also were never paid their last day of tips. Nicole Raz/Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Bad-beat jackpot money will finally be awarded
People who thought they had won in Station Casinos’ “bad beat jackpot” poker promotion were unhappy. They waited months to get paid. And now the bad-beat jackpot is gone.
New developments coming to Las Vegas' Craig Road
Gina Gavan, economic and business development director for North Las Vegas, discusses new development projects on Craig Road in North Las Vegas. Art Marroquin/ Las Vegas Review-Journal
Companies bet their futures on cryptocurrency
Two Las Vegas entrepreneurs talk about finding their niche in blockchain enabled technologies and digital currency.
Solar panels reduce energy bill for CCSD
Wilbur and Theresa Faiss Middle School is one of 42 CCSD schools with solar panel installations, saving approximately $514,000 per year in energy costs.
Dallisa Hocking And A Grandmothers Psychic Gift
Dallisa Hocking’s new “boutique soul center” pays tribute to her late Grandma Ellie. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Can't pay the IRS? You do have options
There's a little more than five weeks until this year’s tax filing deadline of April 17. But many small business owners are wondering, “How am I going to pay my taxes?” When owners haven’t set aside enough money to cover what they owe the government, they have options. — The easiest and cheapest alternative may be to dip into personal savings. — If you have available credit, you may want to borrow from a lender or credit card. — Also, the IRS can work out an installment payment plan.
Amazon Offering Discounted Prime Memberships to Medicaid Recipients
Amazon Offering Discounted Prime Memberships to Medicaid Recipients Individuals with a valid Medicaid or Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card The $5.99 membership can be renewed every year for up to four years. The reduced Prime membership comes with the same benefits of a standard one, including free two-day shipping, Prime Video, Prime Music and Prime Now. Last year, Amazon also joined a USDA pilot program that allows those receiving government assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to buy groceries through online markets like Amazon's FreshDirect or Walmart.
Jeff Bezos New Net Worth Revealed, Still Richest Man Alive
At the end of 2017, Bezos was estimated to be worth $112 billion, earning the top spot on Forbes' world's billionaires list. According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, the Amazon founder's net worth is now $127 billion, which the report states is the combined wealth of 2.3 million Americans.
Dick's Sporting Goods Ends Sale of Assault Weapons Florida School Shooting
Dick's Sporting Goods Ends Sale of Assault Weapons Florida School Shooting The retailer announced the move in an open letter and an appearance by CEO Ed Stack on 'Good Morning America.' Ed Stack, (Good Morning America) Ed Stack, (Good Morning America) Dick's is also ending the sale of high-capacity magazines and sales of guns to people under 21 years old. The company ended the sale of assault weapons at Dick's-branded stores after the Newtown, Conn. school shooting in 2012. However, they were still selling them at its 35 Field & Stream locations. Nikolas Cruz, 17, shot and killed 17 students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida on Feb. 14.
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
ad-infeed_1
ads_infeed_2
Local Spotlight
Events
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like