A 22-year U.S. Air Force veteran was announced as Kansas’ first Director of Unmanned Aircraft Systems at an event in Salina Tuesday. Bob Brock, a Pittsburg native who retired from the Air Force as a lieutenant colonel, will oversee the establishment of policy and procedures for the operation of UAS, or drones, in Kansas.
The announcement was made at the Kansas State Polytechnic campus in Salina, where Brock will maintain an office.
During his Air Force career, Brock gained experience in UAS operations and training. He also served as a flight safety officer and instructor pilot.
“Bob has extraordinary experience with UAS and will play a pivotal role in helping develop our program in Kansas,” said Kansas Transportation Secretary Mike King. “Under his guidance, the state will become a national leader in the industry.”
Brock said that among his priorities will be protecting the privacy and public safety of Kansans as drones become part of our world.
“Our team will work very closely with the FAA, universities and aviation leaders to deliver systems that make Kansas safer, provide economic growth and also save time and money,” said Brock.
Brock will maintain offices at Kansas Department of Transportation headquarters in Topeka and at the Kansas State University Polytechnic Campus in Salina, which has a nationally ranked UAS program.
“Kansas State Polytechnic is very excited about the state’s new UAS director having an office on our campus,” said Kurt Barnhart, associate dean of research and executive director of the Applied Aviation Research Center on the Polytechnic Campus. “This allows both KDOT and K-State to work together more easily to help advance the industry statewide and bring lasting economic benefit to Kansas.”
Everyone involved, including King and Brock, credited Salina Representative J.R. Claeys with making this position a reality.