Thursday, November 20, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Understanding drone decision simple as ABC

elias column sig

By
From page A11 | January 22, 2014 |

It turns out that understanding the federal government’s late-December decision on where to site the testing of unmanned aircraft in U.S. skies is as simple as ABC: Anywhere but California.

Other rationales will be offered for the fact that California, the state with more manufacturers of drone aircraft than any other and more experience testing new aircraft than the rest of America combined, will not get any of this new program.

That’s a new manifestation of the “ABC” attitude that previously resulted in the ludicrous choice of Buffalo, N.Y., for a major federal earthquake study center, when Buffalo had not felt a quake in modern times. The government also tried to put the superconducting supercollider advanced physics facility in Austin, Texas, when both the Stanford Linear Accelerator Project and the University of California, Berkeley’s Lawrence Livermore Laboratory would have provided far more Nobel Prize-winning talent to run it. No surprise, that program achieved nothing before it was canceled.

The Defense Department has deactivated far more California military reserves in each round of base closings than in any other state.

So it is that New York, New Jersey and Virginia, states with few wide-open air spaces, will get major pieces of this pie, along with Nevada, Alaska and North Dakota, which have plenty of open space, but little of the academic talent usually deployed in major pilot programs.

States chosen as test sites lost no time bragging about their leg up toward winning many of the estimated 70,000 jobs the domestic unmanned aircraft industry is forecast to produce over the next 10 years.

“Our state is now on the world map when it comes to this exciting technology,” said Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Begich of Alaska, who will use his state’s win as he fights for political survival in that normally Republican state.

Nevada’s Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval called the selection of the University of Nevada at Reno as a test center a “historic moment” for his state. It surely didn’t hurt that the Senate Democratic leader, Harry Reid, hails from Nevada.

None of that explains why the Federal Aviation Administration passed on California, home of Edwards Air Force Base, where most new military aircraft – including drones – have long been tested. The state also hosts testing for military drone makers like AeroVironment of Monrovia, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems of Poway, along with Lockheed Martin Corp. and Northrup Grumman Corp., both in Palmdale.

Weaknesses are obvious in the FAA’s selections. For one, given its size, California will see more drone aircraft deliveries of goods to homes and businesses than any other state if the technology becomes common, as – for example – Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos predicts.

So skipping California makes no sense. Nor does the so-called explanation offered by FAA Administrator Michael Huerta, who said his agency considered factors like geographic diversity, availability of ground infrastructure and the volume of air traffic near test sites.

“What we were really looking for was how do we select six that give us the broadest base of (these things) and different climates,” Huerta said.

No state offers more of those items than California, with its varied landscape of deserts, cities, coastlines, mountains and forests. But it is out, even though by Huerta’s criteria it could easily qualify to host the entire program.

The good thing about the two California bids for parts of this program was that both got cooperation from Gov. Jerry Brown’s Office of Business and Economic Development and neither experienced the kinds of permitting hang-ups that have sometimes plagued businesses here.

It is also comforting to know the military does not usually site its testing by political criteria, as was plainly the case with this civilian program. Which means military drone makers will almost certainly stay put, even as some of their affiliates experiment in the new test sites.

The bottom line: Until California’s largest-in-the-nation congressional delegation of 55 men and women begins acting with unity to benefit the state and make sure it gets projects like this, other states will gang up to seize money and projects that rightfully belong here. But there are no signs of any such cooperation coming soon.

Thomas Elias is a California author. Reach him at tdelias@aol.com.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

 
Solano cheerleaders travel to NYC for holiday parade

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Let’s honor veterans throughout year

By Mayrene Bates | From Page: A2

 
 
Suisun City Hall critic takes town to task over residential ‘junkyard’

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3Comments are off for this post

 
Lawyers outline strategy in Fairfield homicide case

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A3

 
NAACP chapter to conduct officer elections

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A4

 
 
Sport Chalet offers underwater photos with Santa

By Susan Hiland | From Page: B5

Nut Tree to donate vintage barn doors to ReStore

By Susan Winlow | From Page: B5

 
Weather for Nov. 20, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B10

Fairfield police log: Nov. 18, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

 
Suisun City police log: Nov. 18, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10, 5 Comments

.

US / World

Analyst: No ‘fiscal cliff’ when tax hikes end

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Tuition hikes tentatively approved in California

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 1 Comment

Police: Gunman killed after shooting at FSU

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Obama to announce immigration action Thursday

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 42 Comments

Cuban couple keeps rodents called hutias as pets

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2, 1 Comment

 
Self-driving cars: safer, but what of their morals

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 2 Comments

5 children in San Jose home with barricade man

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Berkeley OKs plan for gas-pump climate change labels

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

First of 3 storms douses fields, delays flights

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Right-to-die advocate’s video out after death

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 4 Comments

Early statin use may give long-term heart benefits

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Health system reveals hospital gown to cover rears

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

Police: Man crawled into sunken car, saved baby

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 3 Comments

 
CDC chief drops worst-case Ebola estimate

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Vets’ moms to Congress: Boost suicide prevention

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
Buffalo area hit with epic snow – with more coming

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

US airstrike hits al-Qaida-held town in Syria

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Hotel charges couple for negative review of it

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

New US ambassador has tough job in Moscow

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Military leader becomes Burkina Faso prime minster

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

CERN scientists discover 2 new subatomic particles

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Kerry in diplomatic overdrive on Iran nuclear deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

N. Korea threatens to beef up military capability

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

 
Colombian girl’s dad had her swallow cocaine caps

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

New Kurdish offensive targets Islamic State group

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
.

Opinion

 
Gambling on Proposition 47

By Kelvin Wade | From Page: A7, 5 Comments

How and why the GOP won

By Jennifer Rubin | From Page: A7, 18 Comments

 
.

Living

Today in History: Nov. 20, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Nov. 20, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

My lady’s mother doesn’t like me and wants me to move out

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

 
Horoscopes: Nov. 20, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Library honoring Billy Joel with pop music prize

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Motown singer Jimmy Ruffin dies at age 78

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Multiple fractures for Bono in NY bicycle accident

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Auction of Presley items set for January

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
.

Sports

 
Brooks apologizes to 49ers for harsh words

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Chiefs look to avoid letdown vs. winless Raiders

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Carrie, Rogers out for Raiders with injuries

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Butler and A’s finalize $30 million, 3-year deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Rudy Gay happy to be with Sacramento Kings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Union, NFL at odds over personal conduct policy

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
NBA suspends Hornets’ Jeffery Taylor 24 games

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Stanton signs record $325M deal at news conference

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Nothing settled going into LPGA Tour finale

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Collins, NBA’s 1st openly gay player, to retire

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

NFL fines Lynch $50,000 for not speaking to media

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
NASCAR’s Kurt Busch meets with investigators

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

.

Business

Showdown looms between US gov’t, air bag maker

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Obama picks NTSB member as new auto safety chief

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

JetBlue to add bag fees on cheapest tickets

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5, 1 Comment

 
US stocks drift lower after release of Fed minutes

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

Automakers debut key models at L.A. Auto Show

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Yahoo replaces Google as Firefox’s default search

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5, 1 Comment

.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9