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After FAA Rejection, Dayton Business Leaders Look Inward, Move Forward

Lewis Wallace

The Federal Aviation Administration handed down its decision earlier this week that the Dayton region was not selected as one of the six national test sites for commercial drones. The news comes after months of preparation from business and industry officials, as well as Ohio’s political leaders. But Chris Ford with the Dayton Development Coalition says it won’t change the game for the drone industry in the region.

"These are tremendous resources that we have available to us and we are going to continue to weave those in our capabilities," Ford says. He thinks the Dayton area is still well-poised to capitalize on the burgeoning commercial drone industry due to its assets in the region, including research at Wright-Patterson Air Force base, the business growth already underway and support from Ohio's congressional delegation. 

According to a report by the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, commercial drones could have an economic impact nationwide of $82 billion by 2025.

Ford says this is real end game for Dayton will be winning the new jobs commercial drones will create in the future. Still, he admits, the FAA decision came as a bit of a surprise and that local advocates for the test site are in the process of requesting a debrief to learn more details about why the Miami Valley was passed over.

"We need to take a hard look at ourselves, be honest with ourselves and make an adjustment and get ready for the game and position ourselves to secure these jobs in this new industry," says Ford.