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Drone Testing with NASA Scales Up

The NUAIR Alliance and the New York UAS Test Site (NYUASTS) continue to work with NASA to test drone air traffic management. The unmanned aircraft system (UAS) traffic management (UTM) project at NASA aims to enable access to low-altitude airspace for small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) in a safe, efficient and fair manner. To achieve this, NASA is collaborating with the FAA, UAS Test Sites, including the NYUASTS at Griffiss International Airport, in Rome, and industry experts to develop and test a UTM system research prototype with capabilities that will eventually become part of an operational system.

NASA is leading the research, development and Technical Capability Level (TCL) series testing, each increasing in complexity. NUAIR and the NYUASTS have supported this testing (TCL1) since 2015, which previously focused on agriculture, firefighting and infrastructure monitoring, geofencing, altitude “rules of the road” and vehicle trajectory scheduling. UTM TCL2, completed in October 2016, leveraged TCL1 results and focused on beyond visual line-of-sight operations in sparsely populated areas.

TCL3 testing is currently being performed at NYUASTS to analyze technologies for safely separating “cooperative” unmanned aircraft from “non-cooperative” drones that do not operate over moderately populated areas. Ultimately, TCL4 testing will be over higher density urban environments. These tests build capabilities ultimately leading to safer operations and opening the door for regular safe drone operations.


Chuck Hereth, NUAIR Alliance’s lead pilot, operates a drone that is flying on the airfield at Griffiss International Airport in Rome, NY, from within the New York UAS Operations Center.

NY UAS Symposium, September 10-12, 2018

The NUAIR Alliance is hosting the inaugural New York UAS Symposium at the Turning Stone Casino & Resort and the New York UAS Test Site from September 10-12, 2018. The symposium will focus on UAS policy; attendees will hear from UAS industry experts on the UAS Integration Pilot Program, UAS Traffic Management Pilot Program, UAS Law & Policy Institute, National Unmanned Systems Testing and Rating and the New York UTM Corridor. The NUAIR Alliance is accepting breakout session ideas at info@nuair.org.