NUAIR drone test corridor receives important Federal Aviation Administration approval

Local News

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — The Federal Aviation Administration has just given a key approval to New York’s 50-Mile Unmanned Aircraft System Corridor being built by Oneida County, NUAIR and New York State.

This is the first “true” beyond visual line of sight, or BVLOS, authority granted to the FAA-designated test site, which allows unmanned aircraft testing without the need for ground-based observers.

Current FAA drone regulations require operators to keep their drones in line of sight unless they have approval from the FAA.

To date, NUAIR and the New York UAS Test Site have conducted over 2,500 test flights but required multiple people in the field to have a visual line of sight for the aircraft.

By receiving “true” BVLOS flight approval, the UAS Test Site will no longer require those observers in the field as NUAIR and the Test Site have proved to the FAA that the proper safety measures and technologies are in place to fly unmanned aircraft beyond line of sight safely.

NUAIR CEO Mike Hertzendorf tells NewsChannel 9, “We have validated that the infrastructure with the radars, our technology to see and avoid non-cooperative general aviation and then to have the communication, navigations, and surveillance over these distances is possible.”

Eventually, companies from around the country, and likely the globe, will be coming to the Mohawk Valley and Central New York to test their UAS system for things like package deliveries.

However, Hertzendorf says the State, which has invested heavily in the corridor, may be the first to benefit from it, like first responders.

“Let’s say there’s a traffic accident and the policeman is having a hard time getting to the scene, the roads are all blocked, he can launch that UAS, it can quickly get overhead, it can do a very quick survey of the scene,” he says.

Hertzendorf adds getting the approval from the FAA for this first section is absolutely critical to unlocking approval for the rest of the 50-mile corridor from the Mohawk Valley out here to the Syracuse area.

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For more local news, follow Jeff Kulikowsky on Twitter @JeffNC9

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