The 2nd Annual Utah UAS (Unmanned Aerial Systems) Summit took place Sept. 27 at the Kemp Gateway Center. Attendees included industry experts from UAS and aerospace companies, local and state governments, emergency services, investment firms, and higher education institutions.
Ogden Mayor Mike Caldwell, Utah State Senator Gregg Buxton, and Tooele County Commissioner Shawn Milne provided the opening remarks and introductions.
Michael Huerta, a former administrator for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) – and the keynote speaker for the event – then spoke about his experience with unmanned aircraft during his tenure at the FAA. He was careful to note, as he’d not been part of the FAA since January 2018, his comments should not be misconstrued as current or forthcoming agency policy.
(From left to right: Rich Gatanis (FLYMOTION), Gregg Buxton (Utah State Senator, Ogden City), Mike Caldwell (Mayor, Ogden City), Michael Huerta (Former Administrator, FAA), Shawn Milne (Commissioner, Tooele County)
Huerta talked at length about the hurdles in his initial onboarding, his initial confirmation in 2013, and the daunting prospect of the scope of regulatory framework the FAA had in front of it. Specifically, he talked about the development of “Part 107,” which was part of the FAA’s initial regulatory efforts.
“We wanted to accomplish two things. First, we wanted to establish the base regulatory framework – something that could be expanded and adapted over time as the industry continues to develop,” Huerta said. “Second, we wanted to create a permissive framework for a number of activities, fully recognizing that it would be a limited set of activities, but with a plan to expand the range of permitted activities over time as we gathered more operational data.”
Following Huerta’s remarks, additional panels and discussions took place featuring current UAS programs and projects, Utah’s UAS and aerospace cluster, and a forecast of the upcoming demand for UAS technology.
In the afternoon, attendees split into breakout sessions led by industry experts; topics included, “Drones in the Classroom,” “UAS Research,” and “Setting Up a Corporate UAS Program.” These sessions were designed to be informal in nature, allowing participants to speak collaboratively in an open forum about a multifaceted and ever-growing industry.
After the breakouts concluded, attendees moved down to the hangar, where exhibitors had tables and booths prepared to discuss their involvement in the UAS industry. FLYMOTION, a UAS company based in Tampa, FL, performed a demonstration of their HazMat drone.
Rich Gatanis, the UAS Operations manager for FLYMOTION, was one of two representatives from the company performing the demonstration.
“FLYMOTION’s UAS HazMat is a turnkey solution allowing first responders the ability to rapidly deploy critical detectors of flammable gas, radiation, and other chemicals down rang into the ‘hot zone’ of a hazmat incident,” Gatanis said. “This allows the decision makers the ability to gather critical information without having to subject personnel to those dangerous atmospheres.”
Additional demonstrations were provided by Electrafly, Box Elder County Emergency Management, Aerobotics, Fortem Technologies, SenseFly, ROAV Copters, and USU’s AggieAir program.
For a full list of speakers and exhibitors, download the program here.