April 4, 2018
Dear President Wilson,
Ohio has a rich history in aviation and that legacy continues today. Cleveland is home to NASA’s Glenn Research Center and the Air Force Research Laboratory is headquartered in Dayton, Ohio. On the aerospace manufacturing side, Ohio is the number one supplier to both Airbus and Boeing making Ohio a critical state for both manufacturing and aerospace research and development.
Building on this long-standing tradition of innovation in aviation technology, the State of Ohio has identified unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) (see the UAS Addendum for more information) technology as a key industry to enhance economic development by leveraging our in-state talent. Ohio has an opportunity to become national leaders by overcoming many regulatory and logistical challenges that are currently holding back the advancement of UAS. The solution to many of these challenges can be solved by unifying, sharing new ideas and working through the regulatory and technological barriers in the UAS industry.
The biggest barrier in advancing UAS is the inability, under current regulations, to fly UAS beyond visual line-of site. In an attempt to be a leading state in overcoming this barrier, Ohio has made significant investments in cutting-edge UAS technologies. A particularly unique asset in this endeavor is a 200,000 square mile airspace in Springfield, Ohio that will be using three individual Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) radar sites for a Ground-Based Detect and Avoid (GBDAA) system. The GBDAA system operates as an air traffic control management system for UAS. This technology, which overlaps multiple radar signals to increase accuracy in detection, will become one of the safest places in the country to operate UAS and will lead the way for early beyond visual line-of-site operations in the National Airspace System. Additionally, the GBDAA system should help waive restrictions on UAS altitude, weight, and speed thus increasing test capabilities for our region.
Ohio is also fortunate to have a strong network of colleges and universities that regularly create solutions to complex problems. Innovative work in UAS is no exception. The investment in the GBDAA represents a great opportunity for the state to advance its UAS efforts by leveraging the airspace in Springfield to advance UAS initiatives taking place on your campus. The GBDAA system is in the final phase of completion and regular UAS testing is scheduled to begin this summer.
To better assess the potential of meaningful collaborations with our colleges and universities in this space, we would like to gain a thorough understanding of the nature and scope of UAS initiatives and capabilities on your campus. Our plan is to use the developed inventory to identify opportunities and target resources to accelerate cutting-edge UAS ideas into practice. We are also exploring the possibility of convening our institutions around this topic to discuss long-term strategic direction. The information you provide will ensure that any such convening is focused and productive.
On or before April 20, 2018, we are requesting that a description of your UAS initiatives be sent to Charles See, Vice Chancellor for External Relations and Education Technology, who is leading the information collection effort on behalf of the Ohio Department of Higher Education. As noted, we are interested in receiving information in all areas of your UAS work, however, in constructing your response, please highlight specific capabilities and initiatives that align with priorities listed in the attached addendum. We would also request that you identify a point person to work with Charles on future UAS inquires. Charles can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please copy Mitzi Dunn at email@example.com on all submissions. Questions regarding submission of information on UAS initiatives should be directed to Vice Chancellor See.
Additionally, to maximize your opportunity to contribute to this statewide collaborative effort, David Gallaher, Chief of Staff at the Ohio/Indiana UAS Center & Test Complex, has extended an open invitation to each of our colleges and universities to visit the Springfield airspace to tour and evaluate the facility. David can be reached at David.Gallagher@dot.ohio.gov to set up your visit. We urge you to take advantage of this opportunity.
As your institution becomes familiar with the Springfield airspace and the GBDAA, our hope is that you will identify opportunities to use this asset to advance UAS research at your institution, partner with personnel at the airspace to address UAS issues and concerns, and develop and share new UAS technology. In short, our goal is to establish the GBDAA and the Springfield airspace as a central hub in facilitating the advancement of all things UAS in Ohio.
We truly have a great opportunity to advance the UAS industry in the state of Ohio. We look forward to working with you on this very important initiative. Thank you for considering this request.
John Carey Fred Judson
Chancellor Acting UAS Director – UAS Center
Ohio Department of Higher Education