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Many private and commercial drone users flout the rules, are unaware of them or believe they’re still the same as for RC hobbyists. firsthand the power of an 800 RPM rotor, she also hopes that the FAA and FTC — which respectively regulate airspace and uses of media — can tame the increasingly Wild West of drones. In September, a New York man partially decapitated and killed himself while flying a remote-controlled helicopter with his father. “We need training,” Fenstermaker says, “but we need different training than what we’re getting. The best flight training for small UASs is simulator training on a computer. Knowledge training should include information on regulations and safety.” The six test sites that the FAA has designated for UAS research are meant to address the problems by integrating drones with the current National Airspace System. Nevada is one of the sites, and the only one that’s a state (others are organizations and universities). Announcing the win last December, Gov. Brian Sandoval noted our considerable advantage over the other sites: giant swaths of regulated airspace. Large-scale projects will be able to use Nevada’s seven designated airports and ranges without bumping up against competitors, making us a desirable location. And, Sandoval pointed out, pulling together in support of the development are both private and public entities — including schools. Both UNLV and UNR are starting UAS minors; Rancho High School and Leavitt Middle School provide training for small UAS. But the awareness starts in elementary school, at Sandy Miller.

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nmanned aircraft systems are but one of many technologies students are learning at Sandy Miller. This semester, drones figured into a school-wide

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Desert Companion - May 2014  

Your guide to living in southern Nevada