FAA UTM Field Test project will test new capabilities and proposed standards that support complex, high-volume drone flights throughout diverse environments.

(ROME, NEW YORK) – The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has awarded a task order contract to the New York UAS Test Site (NYUASTS) for the next uncrewed aircraft systems (UAS or drone) integration project to help advance the reality of safe, high-volume drone operations, and the development of a UAS traffic management (UTM) system. The UTM Field Test (UFT) project will be managed by NUAIR on behalf of the NYUASTS located in Oneida County, NY and conducted within the 50-Mile Drone Corridor between Rome and Syracuse. The project will provide the FAA and industry with information to support policy development and will help industry update standards to support beyond visual line-of-sight (BVLOS) operations – a critical element in unlocking the true potential of routine, commercial drone operations.

The need for drone operators to safely utilize low altitude airspace (below 400 feet above ground level) continues to grow with more business cases where drones operate both in visual line-of-sight and beyond visual line-of-sight. The FAA recognizes the benefits of supporting these more complex drone operations at low altitudes safely, equitably, and efficiently and continues to collaborate with industry through projects like the UFT to improve UTM and other enabling technologies.

“Oneida County’s UAS Test Site has been leading the way for industry research and development, and being awarded this project validates the fine work being done by NUAIR and our partners,” said Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. “We are honored to be selected to conduct this important testing that will advance the technology to greater heights, and we thank the FAA for this opportunity.”

NUAIR and the FAA kicked off the UFT project in July with the goal of completing the project by spring of 2023. Project team partners include ANRA Technologies, AX Enterprize, Cal Analytics, Oneida County Sheriff’s Office, Oneida Indian Nation, and OneSky. Each of these partners were selected based on their leadership in UTM technology and their willingness to continue to progress the state of the technology. The partners are an essential part of conducting the testing necessary to evaluate the ability of new constructs to enhance the capabilities of UTM for future operations. Test infrastructure updated through field testing activities will allow for the continued collaboration between the FAA and UTM community and support the maturation of a UTM ecosystem.

NUAIR was founded as a not-for-profit organization in 2012 to manage the NYUASTS, one of the seven FAA-designated UAS Test Sites in the United States, focused on supporting the development and safe integration of UAS into the national airspace system. The NYUASTS is the only test site located at a towered airport (Griffiss International), is covered by low altitude authorization and notification capability (LAANC) and surrounded by Class D airspace. NUAIR has helped develop New York’s 50-Mile Drone Corridor and has conducted over 4,000 drone operations since its inception, supporting safe, efficient, and economically viable drone operations.

“NUAIR continues to have a close relationship with the FAA to help develop and test the policies and regulations needed for safe, advanced UAS operations,” said NUAIR CEO Ken Stewart. “NUAIR, with our array of assets in New York, have the capabilities, expertise and real-world environments needed to prove out the elements outlined within this project, and once again we look forward to helping the FAA and industry realize the goal of routine commercial UAS operations.”

Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said, “The advancements that are happening at the New York UAS Test Site by NUAIR and their partners have continuously kept New York State at the forefront of advanced drone research and development. This newest project with the FAA will help further position New York as a global leader in the drone industry, which will attract new investment and opportunity to the state.”

About NUAIR

NUAIR (Northeast UAS Airspace Integration Research Alliance, Inc.) is a New York-based nonprofit with a mission to safely integrate uncrewed aircraft systems (UAS) into the national airspace, enabling scalable, economically viable commercial drone operations. NUAIR manages operations of the FAA-designated New York UAS Test Site at Griffiss International Airport, Rome, NY on behalf of Oneida County and is responsible for the advancement of New York’s 50-mile UAS Corridor between Rome and Syracuse, NY. https://nuair.org

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