DETROIT (WWJ) – There’s a a new type of aircraft flying around the former Detroit City Airport.
One man is pursuing drone operations at the airport that closed to commercial passenger traffic, but has to stay functioning per FAA regulations.
John Rimanelli, president and CEO of Detroit Aircraft Corporation, revived the business that was initially founded in 1922 to develop and build unmanned and remotely-controlled autonomous aircraft, or drones, in two rented hangars at Coleman A. Young International Airport, formerly Detroit City Airport.
These are not military drones, but they do come from the same technology. And Rimanelli hopes to turn the former City Airport into the drone capital of the United States by leveraging the technology and skills in Detroit to design, develop and build drones.
The erstwhile computer chip and circuit board maker has big plans, saying drones could be scaled up for package pick-up and delivery and even passenger taxis, along with smaller ones for search-and-rescue, border patrol, tower and high-tension line inspection, etc.
“It really stems from a lot of the technologies that are coming from unmanned aircraft that are used by the defense department, commonly known as drones,” said Rimanelli.
A uniquely shaped drone is a concept imagined by Rimanelli. The “transitional wing, single-person ‘drone'” would combine vertical liftoff and landing with horizontal flight capability. An owner would be able to fly autonomously from point A to B, bypassing TSA restrictions and hassles.
Lots of traffic on the way to work, on the route to the cabin Up North, on a shopping trip? If Rimanelli has his way you’ll be able to forget about it, and just hop in the drone.