Creation of an International Consortium of Aeronautical Test Sites

Photo 1 - Inauguration

Alma, Canada, February 27, 2014 – The representatives of the UAV test & service centre (CESA) (Bordeaux, France), the Oklahoma State University – University Multispectral Laboratories (Oklahoma, United States), the National Aeronautical Centre (Wales, United Kingdom) and the Unmanned Aerial System Centre of Excellence (Quebec, Canada) are proud to announce the creation of an International Consortium of Aeronautical Test Sites.

The first international organization of its kind, the consortium will support the industry by enabling the development, testing and ultimate certification of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS)/Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) to allow for their use in non-segregated airspace. This will be achieved by sharing of information on operational safety, flight regulations and, when allowed to do so, actual operational experiences. The consortium will also encourage the industry to demonstrate and prove sub-system technology that will enable the necessary international standards for future UAS/RPAS construction to be created, and will work with their respective regulatory bodies to safely develop UAS/RPAS capabilities while continuing the operational confidence building process.

The test centres will support and guide the industry in the development, operations and certification of UAS/RPAS as established by their respective regulating bodies. The centres will therefore accompany and funnel the innovation of the private sector while coordinating with government entities. The sharing of information on rules, regulations and actual test results between the test sites will consequently minimize the stovepipe approach that might otherwise prevent cross-border operations of unmanned systems. The test centres will help continue to bridge the gap between the establishment of regulations and actual operations.

According to Dr. Stephen McKeever, Secretary of Science and Technology of the State of Oklahoma and member of the board of the consortium, the whole aviation industry will be influenced by it: “We acknowledged differences on UAS regulations between the countries; this consortium will work to harmonize and standardize regulations, which the global industry will benefit from”. The National Aeronautical Centre Managing Director and member of the board of the consortium, Mr. Ray Mann, shares identical views and further states that: “The Consortium is committed to play a proactive role and provide real support to government entities in advancing regulation for unmanned aircraft and, ultimately, their full integration “.

The consortium agreement was announced earlier today as part of the inauguration of the new facilities of the Unmanned Aerial System Centre of Excellence in Alma, QC. The agreement consolidates the various MOUs signed between the Centers in the past two (2) years. Other centres are planned to join the international consortium within the next year.

The consortium agreement was announced in the presence of many dignitaries and partners,

The Honorable Denis Lebel, Member of Parliament for Roberval – Lac-Saint-Jean, Minister of Infrastructure, Communities and Intergovernmental Affairs and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec.

Creation of an International Consortium of Aeronautical Test Sites
Mr. Alexandre Cloutier, Member of Parliament for Lac-Saint-Jean,
Minister for Canadian Intergovernmental Affairs, the Canadian Francophonie and Sovereignist
Governance and Minister responsible for the Nord-du-Québec region.

The United States Consul General (Montreal), Mr. Andrew C. Parker

The French Deputy Consul General (Quebec), Mr. Sébastien Girard

About the Unmanned Aerial System Centre of Excellence
The Unmanned Aerial System Centre of Excellence is a non-profit organisation whose mission is to develop an international centre of expertise and innovative services in the design, operations and applications of UAS. The UAS CE counts sixteen members in its ranks plus an important network of international partners.

About the University Multispectral Laboratories

Government-owned, contractor-operated (GOCO), the University Multispectral Laboratories (UML) is a not-for-profit trusted-agent institution operated by Cherokee Nations Research Laboraties, in exclusive partnership with Oklahoma State University and the State of Oklahoma. UML  development, test, evaluation and training (RDT&E) laboratory and field facilities in support of C5ISR, cyber, UAS, energy and related missions across all federal, state, local and commercial requirements.

About the UAV test and service center (CESA)

The CESA, the first French civilian UAS testing zone, is a result of collaboration between the Regional Council of Aquitaine, the State, the French civil aviation authority (DGAC) and the Ministry of Defense. Managed and operated by the Bordeaux Technowest technopole, CESA will soon allow certification and qualification of autonomous systems of less than 150 kg.

About the National Aeronautical Centre (NAC)

The National Aeronautical Centre (NAC) is a unique location in the UK that enables the development, testing and demonstration of systems and technologies associated to the aeronautical industry. Its key feature is the world’s first area of restricted airspace designed specifically for military and civilian unmanned systems operations. This is enhanced by the facilities and organisations at the NAC, all of which deliver support to the sector’s most specialised working environment.

For more information:

UAS CE, Quebec, Canada: Mr. Marc Moffatt , +1 (418) 487-3583, [email protected]

OSU-UML, Oklahoma, U.S.: Mr. Paul Gaasbeck, +1 (580) 492 5835, [email protected]
CESA, Bordeaux, France: Mrs. Gosia Petaux, +33 6 16 57 27 94, [email protected]

NAC, Wales, U.K.: Mr. Ray Mann, +44 (0)1989 564880, [email protected]