NUAIR

Ars Electronica / via Flickr

There have been 1,020 small unmanned aerial vehicle flights -- what most people call drones -- in Canada this year, according to the Canadian transportation officials.

That's up from 945 in 2013 and 347 in 2012, Transport Canada reported.

"In Canada, as globally, UAV is exploding," said Joe Barnsley, an aviation attorney in Winnipeg, Canada. "It’s a huge growth area."

Meanwhile, the U.S. drone industry is simmering more than exploding. 

David Rodriguez Martin / via Flickr

The commercial drone industry says privacy advocates are unfairly targeting it when it comes to privacy and surveillance concerns.

The unmanned aerial systems industry wasn’t even expecting to have to fight over privacy when it came to the integration of drones into the national airspace.

"When the FAA bill passed, we had no idea privacy was going to be the issue de jour, of the day, for the next years to come," said Mario Mairena, who handles government relations for the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, a leading industry trade group.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

The Federal Aviation Administration has approved the first private drone flights over upstate New York as part of a national testing program.

The Northeast UAS (unmanned aerial systems) Airspace Integration Research Alliance, or NUAIR, has spent the better part of the year waiting for the FAA's approval to begin testing remotely piloted aircraft.

provided photo / Air National Guard

Colleagues and fellow service members are remembering the late commander of both Syracuse's and New York state's Air National Guard as a tough, but fair and visionary leader.

Retired Maj. Gen. Robert Knauff (Retired) died Saturday in a glider accident outside of Phoenix, Arizona at the age of 61. He lived in Manlius.

provided photo / Air National Guard

The former commander of the Syracuse Air National Guard unit, then later state guard operations, died over the weekend in a flying accident in Arizona.

The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office says 61-year-old Retired Major General Robert Knauff died Saturday afternoon after his glider crashed in Aguila, in the desert outside of Phoenix.

Knauff assumed command of the Syracuse-based 174th Fighter Wing in 1996 and was commander of the New York Air Guard from 2005 until his retirement from the military in 2009.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

There's another $1 million in the recently passed state budget for upstate New York's new drone testing program, which means the site now has enough funding to get through at least its first year of operations.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Upstate New York’s new drone testing site is closer to pulling enough money together to begin operating. It’s been awarded a state grant to cover some of its startup costs.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

There was no federal funding attached to the Federal Aviation Administration’s designation of upstate New York as a drone research site, but the coalition that will run the testing needs money to begin operations itself.

The coalition that won the bid just before the New Year, known as NUAIR, will be based at the former Griffiss Air Force Base in Rome. The research lab there is upgrading a former hanger to house drones and equipment.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Upstate New York has won a coveted test site designation for unmanned aerial systems - or drones - from the Federal Aviation Administration as part of that agency's work toward developing regulations for drones' integration into U.S. skies.

But for many here in upstate New York, the designation is more about the jobs and dollars that surround the booming drone industry, estimated to be worth $100 billion globally over the next decade. Industry trade groups predict the business will generated 70,000 jobs nationwide.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

A coalition of upstate New York universities and defense contractors has submitted a bid to become a federally designated testing and research site for the integration of unmanned aircraft systems, or UAS, into domestic airspace.