The state’s proposal was rejected on Monday, as federal officials picked six other proposals. The six sites are to be used by the FAA to make sure drones can be safely integrated into the airspace with piloted aircraft. Arizona touted its wide open spaces and year-round weather in its proposal, but the FAA picked two other sites in the Southwest, Nevada and Texas, along with Alaska, New York, North Dakota and Virginia.
Still, Rep. Tom Forese said the announcement may not be a total loss.
“This is a setback,” Forese said. “But right now what's being done is Arizona is looking to partner up with one of the states that did get a contract.”
If nothing else, Forese said Arizona may be able to help train the pilots flying the remote-controlled aircraft. He said he believes politics were involved in the site selections but did not provide specifics. Gov. Brewer had made a personal bid for the contract earlier this year, meeting in Washington with officials from the FAA and the Department of Transportation.