Roswell selected as drone plane training center

Posted at: 02/28/2014 5:30 PM
By: Lauren Hansard, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Pretty soon there will be something a little different flying about Roswell, and it doesn’t have anything to do with aliens.

An international aerospace company has picked Roswell as a drone training ground.

No, they’re not UFO’s, they’re UAV’s.  Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, in other words drones.

And come summer unmanned drones will be flying the New Mexico sky.

An international company, Strategic Aerospace, is setting up a drone pilot training center in Roswell.

The program will start with 30 air force academy graduates.

They will eat, sleep, and fly drones for three months straight at the airport.

The drones are battery operated and can’t stay in the air longer than 20 minutes.

“They never go over 400 feet, but they’re 80 knots.  They're pretty fast little things," said Captain Bruce Oaster of Strategic Aerospace International.

And believe it or not, they only weigh 35 pounds.

“It’s all lightweight plastic. It’s like the plastic airplanes you used to put together as a kid," said Oaster.

Only these cost $100,000 apiece.

Pilots will practice take-offs and landings, controlling the flights from a remote control on the ground.

About three will be in the air at a time.

After pilots fly these for three months, they will earn certification.

“There’s countless jobs now coming on the market in agriculture, security, surveillance, law enforcement, the military, they fly pipelines,” said Oaster.

The company says the drones will only be flying over a limited area at the airport. 

The company assures they won't be flying all over Roswell and definitely won't be flying over homes

The program hopes to eventually expand so that anyone interested in the training can apply.

The center hopes to start its first class in May.