Today, the FAA announced six test sites for unmanned aircraft systems:
- University of Alaska
- State of Nevada
- New York’s Griffiss International Airport
- North Dakota Department of Commerce
- Texas A&M University in Corpus Christi
- Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech)
The six sites were chosen from 25 applications from 24 states (California submitted two but was awarded no test sites).
In the selection process, the FAA has sought to hit on as many parameters of diversity as possible, including climate, terrain, type of operator and airspace traffic density.
From the press release:
The FAA has selected six UAS test site operators that will allow the agency to develop research findings and operational experiences to help ensure the safe integration of UAS into the nation’s airspace as we transition to a system featuring NextGen technologies and procedures.
While the selection of these test sites will not allow immediate access to the national airspace system for commercial and civil purposes, data and other information related to the operation of UAS that is generated by the six test site operators will help the FAA answer key research questions such as solutions for “sense and avoid,” command and control, ground control station standards and human factors, airworthiness, lost link procedures and the interface with the air traffic control system. This data will help the FAA to develop regulations and operational procedures for future commercial and civil use of the NAS.