Stakeholders to set goals for unmanned aircraft in Alaska

Photo by Greg Walker
In early 2012, this quad-rotor Aeryon Scout was deployed by the University of Alaska Unmanned Aircraft team to gather information on sea ice conditions outside Nome Harbor.
Amy Hartley

Unmanned aircraft systems couple innovative design and construction to assist business, science and the military. They can even help ensure public safety. Alaska offers a vast landscape in which unmanned aircraft can work. Whether it’s monitoring the state’s wildlife, gathering data on precious resources or assisting with rescue efforts, these aircraft are proving themselves a crucial component of living and operating in the Far North.

Nearly 100 stakeholders from across Alaska and the U.S. will converge for three full days in Anchorage, Alaska to discuss recent developments in the UAS field, identify opportunities to use these tools and discuss public policies affecting unmanned aircraft. The Alaska UAS Interest Group annual meeting runs from Sept. 25-27, 2012 at the Embassy Suites Anchorage.

Photo courtesy of Greg Walker
An Aeryon Scout was flown above flaming flare heads near Prudhoe Bay, Alaska as part of a mission for BP in 2011. The Scout collected video and high-resolution images of flares and their support pipes, so BP could determine maintenance priorities for the company’s equipment. Obviously, a manned flight would be too dangerous.

Greg Walker, director of the University of Alaska Unmanned Aircraft Program based at Poker Flat Research Range, is coordinating the conference with help from Harry Kieling, Alaska regional director for the Office of Aviation Service with the U.S. Department of the Interior; Jay Skaggs, All Weather Operations Program manager for the Alaska Region of the Federal Aviation Administration; as well as other stakeholders and staff from the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute.

ADDITIONAL CONTACTS: Greg Walker, UA Unmanned Aircraft Program director, at 907-474-2110 or via email at


NOTE TO EDITORS: Media are welcome to attend any portion of the meeting. The Alaska UAS Interest Group Annual Meeting agenda may be requested by emailing