FAA approves use of Flint Hills UAS in broader, but still restricted airspace

From the Associated Press:

Federal Aviation Administration officials have given approval for flights of an unmanned aerial vehicle near a National Guard range in central Kansas.

The approval means the Flint Hills Solutions Aerosonde UAV will be allowed to fly over Crisis City, which is part of the Great Plains Joint Training Center located near the Kansas National Guard’s Smoky Hill Weapons Range.

Involved with developing the UAV and its uses are Kansas State University, Flint Hills Solutions and the Salina Airport Authority.

The FAA approval, which was previously limited to the weapons range, allows for more extensive training in search and rescue operations through the Kansas National Guard and related agencies.

The Aerosonde is a 6-foot long, 35-pound, fixed-wing UAV that can fly for up to 12 hours, according to the manufacturer. For more on the Kansas National Guard’s plans for UAS and disaster response, see this article in the Wichita Eagle (published last April).

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