FPNA demonstrate a UAV with Orbital Power Engine at Sebring Expo 2016

FPNA demonstrate a UAV with Orbital Power Engine at Sebring Expo 2016

FPNA is a based on the Sebring Airport and has designed and manufactured over 1,000 light sport aircraft. They are considering expanding into the UAV market and recently fitted a UAV body with an Orbital Power heavy fuel Rotary engine. The Sebring Expo is an annual event and for the first time this year drones were part of the show.

SEBRING — Don’t expect any time soon to call up your favorite pizza business and have a drone bring the Italian fast food to your door step. Also, it’s probably unlikely that an Amazon drone will be delivering that hot new mystery book to your home. But, you might drive by a farm and see a drone overhead. That’s becoming increasingly possible and anticipated as using drones has gained interest. And for the first time this year drones were part of the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo, which continues through the end of this week at the Sebring Regional Airport. Shawn Okun, president of Float Planes and Amphibs, a Sebring-based company, said drones will become increasingly used in agriculture and other types of businesses, law enforcement and border control. Unlike the small drones that people might have received for Christmas, his company’s unmanned aircraft have engines that run with jet fuel and can cost $100,000. “We’re not building toys,” he said. “We’re building high-end aircraft.” His drone can ascend 1,800 feet and take clear pictures of such things as crops, parcels of land and provide a view of a crime scene before law enforcement has arrived, he said. The way it’s built and the engine help provide clear video, he said. “There is no vibration,” he said, that would affect the video. Okun said another feature is that once the engine is turned on, even if the drone was in China, he could still use its flight control system in Sebring to fly it. Currently, Okun said, he’s working at selling the drones to farmers in Brazil. In the United States, there’s still some questions regarding new regulations before the business side of it fully takes off. Okun said he doesn’t believe that it would be cost-effective for Amazon to deliver books by drone. But, he said, drones may provide some limited crop dusting. He said that unless someone were to do something intentionally drones won’t present a hazard to commercial aircraft. If someone intends to commit terrorism, he said, they can find a way, regardless of drones. jmeisel@highlandstoday.com