Topeka, Kansas – February 13, 2018 – The Kansas House of Representatives passed a resolution today supporting the Kansas Department of Transportation application for the Federal Aviation Administration Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Pilot Program. Representative J.R. Claeys (R-Salina) introduced and presented the resolution.
“This pilot program will give selected states a head-start in the competition to be a destination for jobs in the emerging UAS industry,” said Claeys. “It is important that we show the Federal Department of Transportation that we have support at all levels of government for the Kansas Application.”
The pilot program is designed to allow jurisdictions the ability to create their own rules for integration of UAS into the national airspace. Those pilot sites would be used as case studies for future FAA rules implemented nationwide.
“We are already leaders in this field, and we have a strong application through the Kansas Department of Transportation,” said Claeys. “Our partners and our experience are second to no one.”
Kansas was the first state in the nation to appoint a Director of Unmanned Aircraft Systems at the request of Representative Claeys, and the first to have an operational Unmanned Traffic Management system in place for state agencies, 138 airports, and 37 higher education institutions.
“Our UAS Joint Taskforce is made up of 17 state agencies, universities and associations working together to deliver economic development using safe UAS operational practices,” said Claeys. “We are leading the way in this emerging industry, and there is no better way to punctuate our position in Unmanned Aircraft Systems than to win selection as a state capable of integrating unmanned aircraft systems into the national airspace.”
Letters of support have been sent to the Federal Department of Transportation from partners including the entire federal delegation, the office of the governor, the Kansas Senate, higher education institutions and private partners such as Black and Veatch, Westar Energy, Kansas Farm Bureau, Garmin, Airmap, AT&T, Microsoft and dozens of others.
Claeys is the chairman of the House Transportation & Public Safety Budget Committee.