Occupational Health & Safety

Alaska UAS Test Site Now Operational

The FAA announces that the University of Alaska’s UAS test site is the second of six to become operational

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has announced that the University of Alaska’s unmanned aircraft system (UAS) test site is now the second of six o become operational. According to the FAA, the agency has granted the University of Alaska Fairbanks a Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA) authorizing flights by an Aeryon Scout small UAS for animal surveys at its Pan-Pacific UAS Test Range Complex. The COA is effective for two years.

The team began its wildlife flight operations on May 5, 2014. The wildlife operation aims to show how a UAS can accurately locate, identify and count large wild animals for survey operations requested by the state of Alaska. In addition, the site will collect safety-related operational data needed for UAS integration.

Alaska has a history of innovation in manned aviation, and now they are bringing that pioneering spirit into the unmanned aircraft arena as well,” said U. S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx in the FAA’s press release. “We look forward to the contributions they and the other test sites will make toward our efforts to ensure the safe and efficient integration of UAS into our nation’s skies.”

The FAA chose six congressionally-mandated test sites on December 30, 2013 to help the FAA safely integrate UAS into the national airspace over the next several years.

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