DURANT, Okla. (December 2019) – The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma (CNO) and Bell Textron Inc., a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company announced today an agreement to add Bell to the CNO UASIPP team and begin testing some of the Bell innovations and systems on CNO-owned property in rural southeastern Oklahoma.
The flights and tests will be conducted as part of the FAA Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Pilot Program (UASIPP) in preparation for future planned beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) and other more advanced UAS operations. CNO is one of nine UASIPP sites selected by U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao in May 2018.
CNO, Bell and their partners plan to work with the FAA and other federal agencies to enhance emerging aviation technologies and operations to help keep the United States a leader in aviation.
“The Choctaw Nation continues to be excited to work with our key strategic teammates like Bell as we begin to foster innovation and utilize new technologies in today’s world,” states James Grimsley, Executive Director of Advanced Technology Initiatives. “Working with an industry leader like Bell validates our investment and highlights all the hard work and success our team has had to date.”
“We are proud and excited to be a part of the CNO UASIPP team,” said Scott Drennan, Bell’s vice president, Innovation. “This agreement will enable us to continue to test our vehicles and work in a collaborative effort with CNO and the FAA to improve aviation technologies and achieve new possibilities together.”
Future missions for the CNO UASIPP team include advanced drone operations – including BVLOS – for agricultural applications, public safety operations, infrastructure inspections, safe operations over people, and weather-related missions.