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Altius Aviation

Drones are Good Business for Central New York

Recent federal regulatory changes, combined with programs and initiatives at the state and regional levels, are creating a supportive business climate for commercial drone use in Central New York.

A recent drone regulation released by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) allows businesses to fly drones under limited conditions and apply for certain restrictions to be waived, opening up new possibilities for the use of unmanned systems for business purposes. The FAA anticipates sales of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) for commercial purposes to increase more than fivefold by 2020, growing to $2.7 million from $600,000 million in 2016.


A Microdrones md4-1000 is displayed at the 2016 UTM Convention in Syracuse last November.

This bodes well for companies that manufacture drone software and hardware, which are already accommodating customers in agriculture, package delivery, law enforcement, search and rescue, mapping, structural safety inspections and storm tracking to name a few.

In New York state, Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently announced a $30 million investment to establish a world-leading, 50-mile UAS flight traffic management system in Central New York. The investment will be made through a partnership with the NUAIR Alliance to help fund Project U-SAFE, which aims to accelerate the testing, certification and safe integration of UAS into the national airspace and unlock this trillion-dollar global industry.

Additionally, the state’s START-UP NY program has assisted in the growth of UAS companies in Central New York. Global aerial solutions provider Microdrones, which has established operations at Griffiss International Airport in Rome, was approved for START-UP NY in 2016 and sees 2017 as a year full of opportunities.

“When [the FAA’s recent regulation] was released, it opened up eligibility for anyone to take the Remote Pilots Certification Test and get their certification to fly,” said Chuck Dorgan, Microdrones sales director at Griffiss. “A lot of businesses in New York and across the country are including unmanned platforms in their 2017 budgets.”

Microdrones is credited with making the world’s first commercial quadcopter and offers unmanned solutions for surveying, mapping, infrastructure inspection and precision agriculture and can make customized UAS packages.

Companies looking to grow and accelerate within the UAS or related sectors, should contact Mike Novakowski, director of business development for CenterState CEO, at mnovakowski@centerstateceo.com. For more information on UAS testing being conducted in New York, Massachusetts and Michigan, visit www.nuairalliance.org.