NY test site gets second COA, adds Michigan partner

By Patrick C. Miller | September 23, 2014

The Griffiss International Airport UAS test site at Rome, New York, has received a second certificate of authorization (COA) from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and announced a new partnership with the Northern Michigan Unmanned Aerial Systems Consortium (NMUASC).

The Northeast UAS Airspace Integration Research Alliance (NUAIR Alliance) said the COA clears the way to begin preparation for manned and unmanned test flights using the airport’s control tower. Griffiss is one of six FAA-designated test sites in the U.S.

NUAIR is a New York-based non-profit coalition of more than 50 private industry, academic institutions and military assets and operations, managing UAS test sites in New York and Massachusetts.

“Testing the integration of air traffic flow between manned and unmanned systems is a critical step in the advancement of this industry,” said Lawrence H. Brinker, NUAIR Alliance executive director and general counsel. “We are excited to begin the process of collecting and analyzing data to develop safety, performance and certification standards for the integration of unmanned systems into national airspace and for civilian use.”

The partnership with NMUASC enables the organizations to cooperate in development and operations of UAS in the Northeast. Adding the Michigan-based consortium to NUAIR’s current partnership with New York and Massachusetts expands key service offerings, adds new test sites capabilities, expands international connections and creates joint opportunities that benefit all three states.

“This new partnership has the potential to advance the research and development of new technologies and processes. We look forward to working with NMUASC and paving the way for additional test flights in the coming months,” Brinker said.

Based in Alpena, Michigan, NMUASC is a flight test center grouping of UAS manufacturers, military, academia, research centers, government agencies and private partners. The largest airspace complex east of the Mississippi, it offers four test sites and a turnkey solution for UAS operations including flight testing, aerial operations, research and development, training and education, and manufacturing.

The second COA enables Logos Technologies, Fairfax, Virginia, to test its new Tactically Expandable Maritime Platform (TEMP) at Griffiss International Airport. Developed in partnership with Atair Aerospace, TEMP is a powered and autonomous-flight-capable parafoil aircraft.

“This is an important step for Logos Technologies in its development of powered parafoil platforms for both military and commercial applications,” said company president John Marion. “We’re grateful to our partners for their wholehearted support that sets a great precedent for the future of UAS technology in New York State.”

Compared to other UAS, TEMP is significantly larger weighing approximately 400 pounds with a 30-foot-long parachute. It’s designed for a range of missions, including precision cargo-delivery to remote and inaccessible areas to assist with emergency response and other situations.

Before the first operational flights can start, NUAIR will establish an independent safety review board to collect additional information and create a flight plan. Initial test flights will be performed to determine flight readiness, advance platform development of the UAS, and provide crew training.

The process can take several weeks and is dependent on factors including facility availability and weather. Completion of the process will enable NUAIR and the Griffiss team to coordinate operational flights on behalf of Logos Technologies.