Aerospace State Association ramps up UAS support efforts

By Luke Geiver | July 21, 2016

The Aerospace States Association is looking to unmanned aircraft systems to help transform the U.S. economy. ASA, a Washington D.C.-based entity made up of lieutenant governors and other elected officials, has partnered with the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International to help educate and unite state legislators with startup or established UAS firms.

Charles Huettner, executive director for ASA, said the group works to show its members along with state representatives the value of aerospace activities and how important the industry can be to each state. “With UAS, we recognized from the beginning that this was an emerging industry,” Huettner said, “and we wanted to support it.”

ASA will help AUVSI at the state level to advance UAS in the same way ASA has succeeded in the manned aviation sector. “Informing state elected officials about the benefits of unmanned systems and listening to their concerns and interest in this emerging technology are vital to enabling the infrastructure and public policy needed to grow our industry,” said Brian Wynne, president of AUVSI.

According to ASA Chair, Alabama Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey, UAS have the potential to transform how we move and see things in the same way the internet has changed the way we communicate. “The UAS industry is expected to grow our state economies, create over 100,000 high-paying jobs and be a source of innovation and inspiration for our youth to enter the STEM workforce,” Ivey said.

After adding UAS to its targeted strategies nearly five years ago, ASA recently formed state-based ASA chapters to help legislators and elected officials learn more and gain more access to the UAS industry and its growing list of companies, Huettner said.

To date, many states have formed new ASA chapters, including Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, Georgia, Florida Colorado, California, Louisiana and Alabama.

ASA intends to push UAS in the following ways:

•      Educate and train aerospace professionals (the next generation of scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs) who will develop the next generation aviation system and pioneer the frontiers of space.

•      Develop, test, and incubate new technologies across a wide spectrum of corporate, academic, and private innovation infrastructures.

•      Sponsor aerospace conferences and business roundtables to enable networking among key aerospace leaders. 

•      Facilitate attractive tax structures, leverage venture capital, and seed public-private partnerships to promote entrepreneurship and expand space enterprise. 

•      Provide adequate infrastructure (e.g., airports, spaceports, roads, communications, internet access) and leverage unique geographical assets (e.g., landforms, location, climate) to develop terrestrial analog test sites.

•      Dedicate public lands for airports, space launch and other aerospace-related activities, and create research, and education centers to both support these programs and facilitate technology transfer.

•      Convey the multiple scientific, educational and commercial benefits of space exploration to the general public.