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Test Flight of the Drone

Crew chief Jack Edward Esparza, right, helps prepare an unmanned aircraft system for testing at a ranch near Sarita, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Test Flight of the Drone

The next big thing in American aviation sounds and looks like an oversized leaf blower with wings and a tail, has duct tape keeping some of its pieces in place and must be carried to a catapult that sends it into flight.

About two weeks after winning approval as one of only a handful of federal test sites, researchers from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi are putting their unmanned remote-controlled aircraft, commonly known as drones, in the air this week for another round of test flights.

Reporting by Michael Graczyk, Associated Press