Silver Springs Airport has been selected as a drone-testing site, a move airport owner/operator Kay Bennett praised as a boon to the community’s economy.
The decision by the Nevada Institute of Autonomous Systems was announced Thursday. It was a result of Lyon County working closely with the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and Northern Nevada Development Authority, according to a news release.
“Companies locating here will use restaurants, hotels, rental cars, fuel, construction and other local services,” Bennett said in an interview. Bennett is a former Carson City Board of Supervisors member who operates the airport along with her husband, Hale.
Bennett said Friday that activities should start at the airport in five or six months. Surrounding residents and businesses shouldn’t notice much of an impact because of the open space surrounding the airport, she said.
That open space was a key factor in Silver Springs’ selection, said Frank Villanueva, an airspace manager who’s a contractor through NIAS.
Among the other Northern Nevada airports that have applied to be testing sites are Reno Stead and Fallon Municipal, Villanueva said.
In December, the Federal Aviation Administration announced that Nevada was one of six states in which drones, also known as unmanned autonomous vehicle systems, will be tested. The others are Alaska, New York, North Dakota, Texas and Virginia.