Airport conference to hear about drones

A Nevada airports conference next week at Douglas County’s Carson Valley Inn will include two talks that will touch on matters related to drones, also called unmanned aerial vehicles.

Steve Tackes, legal counsel to the Carson City Airport Authority, said he will be speaking next Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. on revenue opportunities for small airports and will include some remarks about possible options related to drones. He made reference to that upcoming talk during his report at the authority’s Wednesday night meeting at the Community Center. Next week’s conference runs Tuesday through Friday.

“I have been doing a lot of work lately” on drones and legal issues, Tackes said. Asked after the meeting specifically about that comment, he said the work was on Department of Defense matters and he couldn’t talk about them, but he would prepare remarks on other options for small airport officials next week.

Nevada has been chosen as a site for drone testing and some state officials have hopes that eventually could lead to drone-related economic development as well.

Tackes also said after the meeting ended that someone from the Nevada governor’s office would be talking about drones on Thursday at 10:30 a.m. during the conference.

The authority, meanwhile, accepted a report from Stephen Proscic, member and treasurer, showing $412,827 in the treasury as of Feb. 28, as well as overall assets totaling $554,045.

Members also heard and viewed a presentation from Jerry Marchal of Bristow Academy, which provides training in helicopter high altitude mountain flying and use of night-goggle gear and flying. Bristow Academy, he said, is part of the Bristow Group with a main base in Florida that runs the helicopter flight instruction academy here with three pilots and six students at a time. The students are veteran pilots, but not familiar with the helicopters.

Marchal said his goal at the authority meeting was primarily introductory and to provide an overview of operations, a presentation in which he stressed safety and noted the helicopters sometimes hover near the ground at the airport five to eight minutes during training sessions. That prompted some concern from authority members about possible delays for airplanes, or even conflict with ground vehicles.

Marchal said the academy is working with the airport manager and will work with others to smooth operations for all involved.


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