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UAS Cluster Initiative newsletter
January 11, 2022  

UAS Cluster Initiative of Oklahoma and DronePort Network announce new Executive Director

The Unmanned Aerial Systems Cluster Initiative (UAS Cluster Initiative) and DronePort Network are pleased to announce that Phillip "Craig" Mahaney was recently named as Executive Director.

Mr. Mahaney brings to the role decades of experience in aviation, unmanned aerial systems, air traffic management, policy and strategic planning. He served for 16 years with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), most recently in the position of Senior Advisor and Chief of Staff within the FAA's Office of Aviation Policy and Plans. In 2020 he was selected as a Georgetown University Capitol Hill Fellow where he served as a policy advisor and professional staff to Senator James Lankford (R-OK). Before joining the federal government, Mahaney spent five years in the U.S. Navy as an Air Traffic Control Specialist and completed multiple deployments to the Middle East. He is a certified private pilot, graduate of the FAA's Aircraft Accident Investigation Course and has a Bachelor's of Science degree in Aeronautics from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. Mahaney and his family plan to make Oklahoma City, OK their home.

The UAS Cluster Initiative of Oklahoma was among five Regional Innovation Clusters (RICs) recently selected by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to drive innovation and support small business growth. SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman said, "These RICs will help our entrepreneurs connect to knowledge, networks, and capital so they can be successful in developing their innovations and commercializing them to deliver the products and services that will improve lives around the globe."

The UAS Cluster Initiative, which began in 2015, is now entering a Growth Phase that will catalyze development of sustainable UAS companies, products, and jobs. The major focus areas include increased training and knowledge exchange within the network; B2B Demo Days matching drone service providers with end-users; one on one small business counseling, consulting and mentoring; and facilitating technology transfer and access to capital and other resources. These efforts, combined with the creation of a UAS Private Industry Advisory Council, co-chaired by Jamey Jacob, Director, Unmanned Systems Research Institute at Oklahoma State University and Kraettli Epperson, CEO of Vigilant Aerospace Systems, Inc., will foster a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem.

The UAS Cluster Initiative is committed to the continued growth of the unmanned aerial systems industry in Oklahoma and recognizes that the state's early adoption and leadership in this emerging aerospace technology will be hugely impactful for how the region and nation live, work and travel for decades to come.

The UAS Cluster Initiative and DronePort Network are programs of Development Capital Networks (DCN), headquartered in Oklahoma City, OK. DCN is a specialized firm that seeds the growth of entrepreneurs by attracting technology, capital, and talent to help communities build innovation economies. The UAS Cluster Initiative is funded by private industry and the U.S. Small Business Administration.

About the U.S. Small Business Administration The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations.

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UAS in the News
Tulsa-area proposal among 60 finalists for millions in federal funding for economic development
Planning organization INCOG is among 60 finalists for a U.S. Economic Development Administration grant that could award the Tulsa region up to roughly $70 million for economic development, local representatives say.
Upcoming Industry Events
NASA SBIR/STTR 2022 Solicitations Webinar
Thursday, January 20, 2022, from 12:00pm – 2:00pm ET

UAV Technology USA
February 7 - 8, 2022
Arlington, VA

April 25-28, 2022
Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, FL
Industry Headlines
Sen. Inhofe Praises Senate Passage of FY22 NDAA
U.S. Senator for Oklahoma Jim Inhofe speaks on the Senate floor to garner support for the Fiscal Year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) ahead of a Senate vote.

NUAIR gets approval to expand BVLOS fights in drone corridor
DroneDJ | 01/05/2022
The Northeast UAS Airspace Integration Research Alliance (NUAIR) says it has gotten approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to operate beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) flights over a vastly expanded 35-mile swath of New York's UAS Test...

Here's how drones could be used to revolutionise rural living – are you on board?
CountryLiving | 12/31/2021
The debate rages on. Are they eyesores or a much-needed advance in countryside tech

Test methods for drones help put a crucial rule for safe flights over people into practice
sUAS News | 12/19/2021
Test methods developed at Virginia Tech are the first to be accepted by the Federal Aviation Administration to demonstrate compliance with new regulations for a capability that's crucial for the drone industry to expand: The ability to fly these...

Building Future Air Taxis to See Through the Fog
NASA | 12/17/2021
While the sun beat down on the New Mexico desert, inside, a dense fog hung in the air. In a special facility outside Albuquerque, a team of NASA researchers was working with the kind of fog that's so thick you can't see three feet in front of...

Drones for Residential Solar: Sunrun and DroneDeploy Find a Safer, More Efficient Way to Measure Rooftops
dronelife | 12/17/2021
Using drones for residential solar: DroneDeploy software allows Sunrun to conduct roof inspection without risk to workers

Drone Startup to Fly Pallets Without Pilots
IEEE Dpectrum | 12/16/2021
Dronamics will test a radical new vision of long-range cargo transport in Europe

Unleash live and Elon Musk's Starlink: Enabling Remote Drone Flights
dronelife | 12/14/2021
Unleash live, an Australia-based creator of video data analytics platforms, has teamed up with Elon Musk's SpaceX Starlink to connect with and navigate drones in real-time via a satellite hookup.

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