ALPENA, MI. – Much talk over the past several months about the unmanned aircraft project at the local airport has not panned out. This is a huge disappointment to the area that was counting on a needed boost. The Federal Aviation Administration has chosen six unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) research and test site operators across the United States, but Alpena is not one of them. Alpena airport loses out on research, development and testing .
Designations were awarded to the universities of Alaska and Texas A&M, the State of Nevada, the North Dakota Department of Commerce, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech), and New York’s Griffiss International Airport.
Alpena County two years ago hired Explorer Solutions, a consulting company, at the price of almost $179,000. Explorer Solutions determined the unmanned aircraft business was a fit for the area that could lead to development. Now that this money has been spent, how does the area recoup and move forward and to what degree?
COUNTY CHAIRMAN CAM HABERMEHL RELEASED THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT:
This morning the FAA informed us that in accordance with the Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, they have selected the six UAS test sites.
Unfortunately, the proposal put forth by the State of Michigan fell short of obtaining one of the test site designations.
As we’ve previously communicated, the initiative to establish Alpena as one of the premier test sites in the U.S. was launched long before the publishing of the Modernization and Reform Act of 2012. While the FAA’s decision is disappointing, we recognize that the Alpena area assets are unchanged and we’ll continue to market them to the appropriate audience.
We’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved including Explorer Solutions, the State of Michigan, the Alpena CRTC, the Michigan Air National Guard, Target Alpena Development Corporation, the Alpena Area Chamber of Commerce and the community of Alpena for their support in this effort.