Portion of 50-mile drone test corridor from Rome to Syracuse awaits FAA approval

Local News

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — The first part of a 50-mile drone test corridor from Rome to Syracuse in Upstate New York is nearly ready.

NUAIR, which is building and will operate the corridor, is waiting for FAA approval to start using part of it. It’s something many in the industry are waiting for, to fly drones farther than the human eye can track them.

In the industry, it’s known as flying Beyond Visual Line Of Sight, BVLOS. The NUAIR corridor uses a radar-based tracking and sense and avoid system to follow the drones.

NUAIR CEO Mike Hertzendorf tells NewsChannel 9, “The corridor is never going to be a set complete, it’s always evolving, always maturing, always developing.”

The last of nine radars for the entire 50-mile corridor should be installed by the end of September.

NUAIR is seeking FAA approval to start flying soon in a portion of that corridor, about a four-mile by eight-mile section near Griffiss International Airport in Rome.

The group and its partners have been demonstrating scenarios for the FAA, like one using multiple drones over a Rome farmer’s market.

The test corridor and its technologies, whether a portion or the full section, Hertzendorf says can lead to a drone traffic management system.

“How different UAS companies interact and talk to each other, how they reserve airspace, how they prioritize airspace,” he explains to NewsChannel 9.

Companies from around the country, and around the world, can bring their drones into this test corridor and fly them using nine SRC built radars that will watch them when people no longer can.

Hertzendorf says, “A lot of people think of that package delivery but that’s probably realistically one of the last things to be developed but the medical applications. Flying lab specimens between hospitals for priority.”

He says they hope to fly long-distance flights beyond visual line of sight by next summer.

More from NewsChannel 9:

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

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