Tag Archives: UAS

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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Unmanned Aircraft Systems get boost in North Dakota

From the Grand Forks (ND) Herald:

Opening more North Dakota airspace to unmanned aircraft will now be a priority for the Federal Aviation Administration, one of the agency’s top officials said Monday in Grand Forks.

By summer 2010, the agency should have a solution in place, said Hank Krakowski, the chief operating officer in charge of air traffic control.
He was accompanied by Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., and Gov. John Hoeven, who convened a meeting of key government and military leaders at UND to talk about the airspace issue.
[..] Asked if, after 2010, unmanned aircraft would have the same freedom as manned aircraft, Krakowski was cautious. “We want (unmanned aerial vehicles) to be able to do their missions.”

[..] Last week, Dorgan became the chairman of the commerce subcommittee on aviation, the Senate body where all legislation pertaining to the FAA starts.

This was the jackpot for the local effort to turn Grand Forks into a center for unmanned aircraft operations and research, according to a business leader involved.

Dorgan said he’s particularly interested in modernizing the nation’s air traffic control infrastructure, which would make it easier for unmanned aircraft to operate with manned aircraft.

While modern unmanned aircraft have sophisticated sensors that can spot man-sized targets from high in the air in the dark of night, the FAA is concerned that remote pilots won’t be able to look around them and see imminent collisions as easily as pilots of manned aircraft.

This concern wouldn’t exist if all aircraft were directed by air traffic controllers. But many private aircraft operate at low altitude and outside the purview of the FAA. It is the risk of colliding with those aircraft that has made the FAA hesitate.

“That’s the crux of the problem,” Krakowski said.

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