Tag Archives: UAS test sites

UAV021 NUAIR, Making Future Skies Safer


NUAIR AllianceGuest Lawrence H. Brinker is Executive Director and General Counsel for the Northeast UAS Airspace Integration Research (NUAIR) Alliance, the New York and Massachusetts UAS research and test site. Larry is also a former Air Force and commercial pilot.

We talk about the formation of the NUAIR Alliance as the managing UAS site operator for New York and Massachusetts, where the main test objective is going to be air and ground borne sense and avoid radar.

Larry tells us about the facilities at Griffis and Joint Base Cape Cod, and the corridors that will be instrumented for collection of data to establish sense and avoid protocols. Manufacturers and other parties who will use the test range will have the ability to test their technology. The FAA is but one customer of the range. They’ll analyze the data to come up with regulations.

Besides collaboration with the other UAS test sites, NUAIR sees public education as part of their mandate. They intend to take a lesson from early commercial aviation where World War One pilots barnstormed across the country, thus introducing airplanes to a population concerned about safety. Larry says public perception and public demand are keys to commercial success.

Visit the NUAIR Alliance website and follow them on Twitter.


UAV020 FAA Selects Six UAS Test Sites

Selected UAS Test Site Operators

This Episode:

At the end of December, the FAA announced the six congressionally-mandated UAS research and test sites that are a key part of the U.S. roadmap integrating UAS into the national airspace. These sites, operated by public entities, will perform research, and develop operational experience and needed technologies.

The Sites:

The University of Alaska

Geography: seven climatic zones, and locations in Hawaii and Oregon.

Mission: standards for unmanned aircraft categories, state monitoring and navigation, safety standards for UAS operations.

State of Nevada

Geography: geographic and climatic diversity.

Mission: UAS standards and operations, operator standards, certification requirements. Also, how air traffic control procedures will evolve with the introduction of UAS into the civil environment, integration with NextGen.

New York’s Griffiss International Airport

Geography: The congested, northeast airspace.

Mission: Test and evaluation, verification and validation processes under FAA safety oversight. Sense and avoid capabilities for UAS.

North Dakota Department of Commerce

Geography: Temperate (continental) climate zone

Mission: UAS airworthiness essential data, validate high reliability link technology, human factors research. (Local officials are hoping to also look specifically into agricultural applications.)

Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi

Geography: geographic and climactic diversity.

Mission: System safety requirements for UAS vehicles and operations, protocols and procedures for airworthiness testing.

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech)

Geography: locations in Virginia and New Jersey.

Mission: UAS failure mode testing, operational and technical risks areas.

UAV019 General Atomics Sense and Avoid

General Atomics Predator B

This Episode:

A successful first sense and avoid flight, a Russian drone killer, UAS test site selection approaches, and a drone hunting proposal is going to the voters.

The News:

General Atomics tests UAV that can “sense and avoid” other aircraft

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. has had a successful first test flight in California of a prototype Sense and Avoid (SAA) system, using a Predator B. Developing SAA is key to allowing UAS in the U.S. airspace. Radar, transponder, and traffic alert systems all worked together for the first time to detect other aircraft. This is not an optical system. Instead, it integrates three systems:

  1. BAE Systems’ AD/DPX-7 Identification Friend-or-Foe (IFF) transponder with Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast (ADS-B) receiver

  2. the General Atomics Due Regard Radar (DRR)

  3. Honeywell’s TPA-100 Traffic Collision Avoidance System or TCAS.

Russia upgrades Pantsir-S systems to create “UAV-killers”

With unmanned aircraft playing an increasing role in military operations, it was only a matter of time until we began to see UAV-specific countermeasures. The Russians are modifying their Pantsir-S (SA-22 Greyhound) gun-missile system to make it more effective at bringing down UAVs.

Freight-Drone Dream Has U.S. States Vying for Test Sites

Twenty-four States are vying to become UAS test sites where private researchers can study how unmanned aircraft can be integrated into the airspace. The FAA plans to announce the six sites before the end of 2013.

Colorado judge rules in favor of holding drone-hunting vote after legal fight

Remember Deer Trail, that Colorado town that is looking at a proposal to issue hunting permits for drones? A District Judge rejected a legal challenge and so now the town’s 370 voters will decide the matter April 1, 2014. The FAA maintains it’s position that shooting down aircraft is a criminal act.

An annual license would cost $25, and hunters would receive a $100 bounty for “identifiable parts of an unmanned aerial vehicle whose markings and configuration are consistent with those used on any similar craft known to be owned or operated by the United States federal government.”