The city of Crestview now has use of the HSU range for drone training.


LAUREL HILL — In a public-private partnership with the Hsu Educational Foundation — founded by Dr. Paul Hsu, a local engineer — the city of Crestview received use of the foundation’s Hsu STEM Range near Laurel Hill for training in unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly known as drones.


In exchange, the city will assist with developing access to the rural 400-acre range and its planned educational facility, a 1,000-square-foot multi-purpose building with restrooms and a food preparation area, to which the city will have access through the partnership.


Hsu Educational Foundation’s director of unmanned aerial training, Mario Werth, a Crestview Police Auxiliary officer, UAV operator and instructor, demonstrated the range’s capabilities recently when he conducted training there for three city drone pilot trainees.


The range’s country setting offers training opportunities not available within the city limits, officials said.