Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are a rapidly growing segment of the aerospace industry with potential applications in many areas including: testing of new commercial aircraft technologies, law enforcement, disaster response and agriculture. Currently, FAA regulations prohibit the use of UAVs for commercial purposes, but the FAA is being tasked by Congress to change that in the next few years, allowing UAVs to operate in the National Air Space (NAS).
Private companies currently cannot fly UAVs in the NAS to support the development of their technologies and products for commercial or non-defense related R&D purposes. When Georgia-based AREA-I faced this challenge, they turned to the Georgia Center of Innovation for Aerospace, which was able to connect them with the resources they needed to overcome this obstacle.
Under a supporting grant from the Center of Innovation for Aerospace, Middle Georgia College entered into a joint research & development program with AREA-I for flight testing of an advanced UAV, the Prototype Technology Evaluation Research Aircraft (PTERA), to demonstrate a wide range of cutting edge aerospace technologies.
Through this public/private partnership, the MGC-AREA-I team has a two-year window to fly PTERA at the Middle Georgia College Aviation facilities in Eastman, Georgia. As a result, MGC is gaining valuable expertise to support the development of future UAV curriculum while AREA-I has gained additional contracts with the U.S. Department of Defense, NASA and the United States Air Force.
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