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Sarasota man designs, sells drones

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Posted: Tuesday, April 9, 2013 10:38 pm | Updated: 12:08 am, Wed Jun 19, 2013.

SARASOTA, Fla. - Gene Payson is a staunch advocate of drones. That's because he designs, builds, and sells them through his website troybuiltmodels.com. It all happens inside a workshop behind his Sarasota home.

"Sometimes they take a day to build. Other times it can take 2-3 weeks. It all depends on the complexity," said Payson.

Payson has sold drones across the globe to companies like PBS and National Geographic, and even some governments. He says most drones have been getting a bad reputation, since many see them only as killing machines.

Drones are out there, many used by law enforcement to help with investigations. But because the FAA has yet to implement guidelines pertaining to this type of aircraft, the desire to have one just isn't there. Once that happens, Payson says the industry will explode, resulting in a big benefit to the United States.

"It's millions or billions or even up to a trillion dollars of revenue the U.S. can see. They will be exporting these, and there will be lots of new jobs in this country," said Payson.

Payson says the agriculture industry stands to really benefit from drones, as the aircraft fly over fields inspecting crop conditions. The FAA plans to issue rules and regulations for drones by September 2015.

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