UAS test site supports flights at Denver International Airport

By North Dakota Department of Commerce | December 19, 2016

The Northern Plains Unmanned Aircraft Systems Test Site recently supported the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in their assessment of techniques and technologies to detect unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in and around airports as part of its Pathfinder Program – UAS Detection and Mitigation at Airports and Critical Infrastructure. The collaborative assessment, which occurred on Nov. 11-18, was hosted at the Denver International Airport with a dozen different flights conducted under an FAA-issued Certification of Authorization or Waiver (COA) granted to the Northern Plains UAS Test Site. 

“Our ability to support the FAA’s assessment demonstrates the maturity and trust that the FAA has in our safety processes and procedures.”  Nicholas Flom, executive director of the Northern Plains UAS Test Site said.  “Our team traveled to Denver with our fleet of unmanned aircraft, and conducted the assessment under the oversight and procedures of the Northern Plains UAS Test Site successfully.” 

Vendors CACI International, Liteye Systems Inc. and Sensofusion participated in the event to evaluate procedures and technologies designed to identify UAS operations around airports. The Northern Plains UAS Test Site flew four different models of unmanned aircraft within Denver International Airport’s airspace while the FAA evaluated the technologies operated by the vendors. 

“North Dakota continues to advance UAS integration into the National Airspace System, and our partnership with the FAA for this assessment is another major accomplishment for the industry,” Flom said. 

The Northern Plains UAS Test Site works to collaborate with the FAA and industry partners to develop equipment, systems, rules and procedures to safely integrate unmanned aircraft into the National Airspace System without negatively impacting existing aviation.  

North Dakota has invested over $37 million to advance UAS research and development and is collaborating with organizations statewide to build this emerging industry. 

For more information about the Northern Plains UAS Test Site or to inquire about gaining access to our airspace, go to NPUASTS.COM or call us at 701-777-6100.