Boccieri: Northeast Ohio Ripe For Production, Maintenance Of Unmanned Aircraft
Lawmaker, pilot believes Valley can become manufacturing hub for new aerospace technology
 
 

On the heels of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) release of finalized rules for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) last week, State Rep. John Boccieri (D-Poland), a military and commercial pilot, said that the federal government’s support for innovation in this growing industry can help Northeast Ohio bolster its production and maintenance of aerospace technology. 


A state committee organized to help promote the aerospace industry, the Ohio Aerospace and Aviation Technology Committee, heard last Thursday from small businesses and manufacturers who envision Ohio as a thriving hub for unmanned aircraft research and production.


“I’d like to see the Mahoning Valley position itself for future development in this growing industry,” said Boccieri. “The Youngstown Incubator has a reputation for helping small startup companies and the market for commercial use of unmanned aircraft is about to explode. There is real potential here.”


UAS, or drones, are employed mainly by the U.S. military for combat operations. However, the potential for their commercial use is set to reach new heights. From Amazon deliveries to disaster area oversight during emergencies such as the current West Virginia flood, drones can serve a wide variety of commercial and government purposes.


Home to NASA Glenn Research Center, large manufacturers like Parker Hannifin – which makes jet-engine components – and smaller companies building satellite guidance systems, Northeast Ohio plays host to several potential growth spots for the UAS industry. In addition, public universities might see opportunities to expand research in areas such as liquid crystal at Kent State University or engineering at Youngstown State University.


Rep. Boccieri said that he sees schools like the Valley's Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics (PIA), which trains aviation mechanics, as part of this potential growth as well.


“Drones must be repaired or serviced just like airplanes, and PIA produces mechanics who are capable technicians ready for FAA licenses,” said Boccieri. “I see great potential here in the Valley for training future UAS mechanics.”


The federal rules, set to go into effect in August, are the first to set guidelines for the commercial use of UAS devices, according to the FAA.

 
 
 
  
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