KSU-Salina gets authorization to fly unmanned plane at airport

The Salina Municipal Airport’s runways have been host to some of the largest aircraft in the world, but within a few weeks, one very small aircraft will begin operations at the airport.

Officials at Kansas State University at Salina announced Tuesday that the university had received a Certificate of Authorization from the FAA to fly its Aerosonde Mk 4.7 unmanned aircraft out of the airport, to fly to and from the Great Plains Joint Training Center.

The university has been flying the Aerosonde at the training center southwest of Salina for a couple of years, but being able to operate out of the airport will add a different level to what students can learn, said Josh Brungardt, director of the university’s unmanned aerial systems office.

“Instead of launching and landing at Crisis City, we’ll be using the 18-36 runway, which will be more realistic training for long-distance missions,” Brungardt said. “Another advantage this gives us is a paved surface for launch and recovery.”