Hancock Airport looking forward to hosting FAA’s drone research program

Local

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Drone technology continues to grow in popularity. For that reason, the FAA needs to be able to better detect them in the airspace around airports. Hancock Airport is part of a research program to help them do that.

Syracuse Regional Airport Authority Executive Director Jason Terreri said, “What they’re going to be doing here is having vendors who build and create their own drone detection technology come out here and test it in a real world environment.”

Hancock started the application process back in September and they found out they were approved just this week. They are still waiting on more details like when they’ll get started, what companies will be testing their technology, and where on the grounds it will take place, but Terreri said it’s welcomed news at the airport and around the area.

“We have the drone corridor, the 50 mile drone corridor,” Terreri added, “We have all the research being conducted at Griffiss, the great work being done at the Tech Garden. So now, we’re a real life testbed for it.”

Hancock has not had any issues with drones here, but the Executive Director says if they are not detected, it could be problematic for airports. He referred to an incident that occurred at London’s Heathrow Airport a few years ago.

“They had about a 30-hour closure at Heathrow because somebody was operating a drone around the airspace around Heathrow,” Terreri explained. “That’s what they’re trying to figure out, how do they detect, how do they avoid and mitigate those when that happens.”

Terreri said the airport has a two-year contract and will receive a $100,000 grant from the FAA to cover the costs. The next step, the FAA will come here to get things started.

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