RENO, Nev. (AP) -- The Federal Aviation Administration has cleared Nevada to begin flying drones at a southern Nevada airport as part of nationwide research into unmanned aerial systems.
FAA officials announced Monday that the state was granted a two-year certificate of authorization to fly an Insitu ScanEagle drone.
State and federal officials say the first flight will take place this summer at the U.S. Department of Energy-owned Desert Rock Airport in Mercury, located 65 miles northwest of Las Vegas.
Among other things, they say the research will focus on ways in which drones can be safely integrated into the national airspace system.
They call it a critical next step for the burgeoning industry that could one day produce thousands of unmanned aircraft for use by businesses, farmers and researchers.
In December, Nevada was named as one of six states by federal officials to develop test sites for drones.