by Tom George, 13WMAZ.com
- Using a $1 million-plus dollar grant from NASA, Middle Georgia State College is test flying drones over Eastman.
- The college's aviation department is partnering with Areai, a Kennesaw-based company.
- Two more drones -- called PTERA -- are planned to be built by the end of the year.
If you saw something flying over Eastman, it was a drone being used to test airplanes as a part of the project through Kennesaw-based Areai and a grant from NASA.
"They really exist for the betterment of mankind," says CEO Nick Alley. "To make manned airplanes be greener and safer."
The $1 million-plus dollar project is using a small plane called the PTERA to tests plane conditions like speed and wind to eventually help pilots in real planes.
"The idea behind that being if you want to put a plane into a less than ideal situation, it doesn't require a pilot," says engineer Robert Barnes.
The company is partnering with Middle Georgia State College's aviation department, which used its own runway for the testing, and is having its students work on the NASA-based project.
"Being able to put that you got done projects for NASA on your resume is a good thing," says MGSC student James Dix.
The school is planning on building two new PTERAs by the end of the year. They're also working on other projects, such as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) that will also be able to help with agricultural production.
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