Building airport for drones in Texas



Steve Blizzard, left, and Tony Thompson of Aerial MOB carry away their drone used to film a scene on the set of “Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders” on Sept. 9, 2015 in Santa Clarita, Calif. The eight-rotor model is capable of carrying a 22 lb. camera and flying at 40 mph. The company, with offices in Los Angeles, San Diego and Vancouver, provides unmanned aerial cinematography services. (Myung J. Chun/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

Eshika Kohli, Staff Writer

El Paso, in the far western part of Texas close to New Mexico, the U.S. army has invested $33 million in an airport for drones.

Writer for Scientific American online and teacher at the Stevens Institute for Technology John Horgan said, “Nobody had heard of drones before 9 -11. We went from having maybe a couple hundred drones in 2001, to over 12,000 a decade later.”

The 150-acre area inside of Fort Bliss will consist of a 50,000 square-foot hangar, a 5,000-foot runway for Gray Eagle drones, and a 1,000-foot runway for Shadow drones.

Horgan said, “I think probably the most obvious application would be doing border control.”

According to Horgan, the state will need to constitute their strategic value at a certain level.

Texas is one of the first to invest in a ‘drone-exclusive facility,’ but it will definitely not be the last.

Horgan said, “I think facilities like this will be cropping up all over the states… I think what you’re seeing in Texas is the beginning of a long-term trend.”