12-Feb-2015 Source: ND Government
The Northern Plains (UAS) Unmanned Aircraft Systems Test Site in collaboration with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announces the approval to expand operations throughout the state of North Dakota. This authorization, granted under the FAA’s Certification of Authorization (COA) process, allows the industry more efficient access to airspace for collaborative research. The FAA was able to approve this COA application based on maturity and the demonstrated safety and operational processes used by the Northern Plains UAS Test Site.
“This is a perfect example of how we, working together with the FAA, have made North Dakota a premier location for industry to conduct research related to UAS,” Robert Becklund, Executive Director of the Northern Plains UAS Test Site.
This Northern Plains UAS Test Site COA milestone allows the Northern Plains UAS Test Site to offer industry partners increased airspace access to meet their research objectives. This streamlined process for integration of new users will further enhance the capabilities of the Northern Plains UAS Test Site while advancing the FAA’s ability to collect the operational data needed for NAS integration.
Operationally within the approved airspace volume, the Northern Plains UAS Test Site will individually activate defined operational areas within this COA based on industry needs. These defined operational areas will follow the existing notification processes, which include utilization of the FAA’s Notices to Airmen (NOTAM) system, community outreach and scheduling directly with local airspace users. All flight operations will be conducted by FAA-rated pilots and under Visual Flight Rules.
The FAA recognizes the industry’s needs for safe and efficient access to the NAS to conduct the aeronautical research needed to safely integrate UAS for ultimately enabling commercialization of their services. This Northern Plains UAS Test Site COA demonstrates the FAA’s commitment to the UAS industry as well as the capabilities of the Northern Plains UAS Test Site.