Central New York, Mohawk Valley moving us closer to drone deliveries

Local News

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — We are just a little bit closer to those coveted drone deliveries because of the work done by NUAIR, headquartered in Syracuse, and its UAS Test Site just down the road at Griffiss International Airport in Rome.

NUAIR — or Northeast UAS Airspace Integration Research Alliance, Inc. — runs the site, accomplishing critical tests at the site in Rome.

Phase two of the Federal Aviation Administration’s unmanned aircraft traffic management pilot program was completed at the test site in December.

UPP Phase Two showcased capabilities and services that will support safe, high-density unmanned aircraft systems or drone operations.

“If you got multiple drones, who has the priority, who has the right of way, you know is it law enforcement? Is it manned aircraft? Is somebody caring potentially an organ or some sort of pharmaceutical along those ways,” says NUAIR CEO Ken Stewart.

It’s part of the testing to eventually commercialize its one of a kind 50-mile test corridor from Rome to Syracuse

“There’s still a lot of work to be done here, but I think this area and the infrastructure and the assets it has is like none other in the US which means it’s like none other in the world because the US leads this whole space,” Stewart tells NewsChannel 9.

The testing is all aimed at flying UAS beyond visual line of sight, for commercial operations, and safely integrating the unmanned aircraft into the national airspace.

He says, “We’re doing these tests, we’re flying these operations to be able to get to that point that we can start commercializing those. Customers are willing to talk about some of those are less willing to talk back. As you can imagine, a lot of secrecy around how people are achieving some of these things because that’s the secret sauce. How do you know you get it across that goal line?”

Stewart was hired by NUAIR in early January. With his previous company, Stewart had worked before with the non-profit and was familiar with its operations.

“That’s the thing that was most appealing to me is, very few of the other test sites that you know, that NUAIR essentially competes with, have all these assets, a corridor, and actual airport and test site. You know you have all those capabilities and you have the support of the community,” he tells NewsChannel 9.

SUNY Upstate Medical University conducted a test flight of COVID-19 tests to a location in Syracuse last month.

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