Gleason adds support to CAL UAS Portal

Rebecca Neipp

News Review Staff Writer

A letter of “unequivocal support” for the Cal UAS Portal effort to establish Inyokern Airport as a test site for incorporating unmanned aerial systems into federal airspace makes Kern County 1st District Supervisor Mick Gleason the latest elected leader to express enthusiasm for the local undertaking.

The letter gives a detailed list of reasons why Inyokern is a perfect candidate for a test site, including the remote location, proximity to China Lake, geographic and climatic diversity and vast restricted airspace.

Gleason also notes in his letter that his 27 years in the U.S. Navy ended as commanding officer at Naval Air Weapons Station — an assigment which “brought a heightened awareness of the leading-edge work being done at China Lake by the Navy and in consonance with private industry.” A test site at Inyokern will continue to yield opportunities for technical collaboration between DOD and private industry, he said.

“As a Kern County Supervisor, I recognize the value of locating a test site in an area that has the full and complete support of the citizenry,” wrote Gleason.

“In addition to obvious advantages offered by being virtually co-located with the Navy which does similar work for the military, more and more of the scientists and engineers who have completed or are completing their government careers are settling in the area. This effort will lead to the possibility of follow-on careers or job opportunities for a highly trained technical staff.

“I honestly believe that in the final analysis, there really is only one ‘best’ place in America to do UAS development and test work — Inyokern, CA.”

In the last year the Cal UAS Portal team, a partnership between China Lake Alliance, Inyokern Airport and other regional stakeholderers, has been pursuing the establishment of as a regional and statewide effort to promote job growth in the area of UAV development.

During that time Rep. Kevin McCarthy, state Sen. Jean Fuller and Assemblywoman Shannon Grove have tour the airport and review the plan. Each has endorsed a regional solution for the FAA’s quest for test sites and pointed to Inyokern as a primary candidate for selection. China

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Story First Published: 2013-03-27