Posted on Apr 16, 2019

Fellow Rotarian and Mineral Wells Regional Airport Manager Wayne Sanderson last Wednesday gave club members an overview of how Mineral Wells and the airport is positioning itself to become a major center for unmanned aerial systems operations.


UAS is a rapidly growing sector of the aviation industry, with pilotless aircraft of all sizes used in an array of commercial and military applications.


Sanderson noted that Mineral Wells is in an optimal geographic location, being just outside the Metroplex restricted flight zone allows the airport to serve as a base for unmanned aerial system testing and flight operations.

The FAA has agreed to designate the area around Mineral Wells as a UAS Innovation Zone, which will make Mineral Wells a major regional center for UAS operations.


One company, UAS WERX, is expected to enter into an agreement with the city to bring an array of UAS programs and services to Mineral Wells. The company will office out of the airport terminal initially but is expected to expand into separate office space at the airport. Along with the Innovation Zone, UAS WERX will establish a test flight center, training academy, business development operations and an advisory council.


Sanderson the airport and area has perfect facilities and locations, including the Downing and Dempsey heliports and numerous private landing pads around Palo Pinto and Parker counties. Most of the airport lies in Parker County, and a partnership with that county's officials and economic development group is being forged.


The Innovation Zone will include both counties from the airport and extending northwest to Graford, east to Weatherford, west to Palo Pinto and south to the Brazos River.


Sanderson said UAS operations will not interfere with regular aircraft operations at the airport, and pilots flying in and out of MWRA will receive advanced notifications of UAS operations in the area. The Innovation Zone will include a 4,000-foot ceiling for flight operations with an alert area.


Mineral Wells and the airport well on the maps and radars of many UAS companies and the military as an established flight and testing center.


Rotary Club of Mineral Wells meets every Wednesday at noon at Palo Pinto General Hospital for lunch, networking, updates on club news and events, and a program of interest. Meetings are for club members, invited guests and prospective members.