VIRGINIA: Last but not least

By UAS Magazine Staff | October 15, 2014

The last of six U.S. Federal Aviation Administration-authorized test sites went operational Aug. 13 when the agency announced that the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University’s program was ready to conduct research.

The FAA granted Virginia Tech seven certificates of authorization for two-years. UAS models tested at the site include the Smart Road Flyer, an eSPAARO (electric small platform for autonomous aerial research operations), Aeryon Sky Ranger, MANTRA2, Sig Rascal, and two AVID EDF-8 micro UASs.

Virginia Tech, the University of Maryland and Rutgers University are members of the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership consisting of academia, government, industry, economic development agencies, and non-profit organizations throughout Virginia, New Jersey and Maryland. MAAP conducted its first operational test flight Aug. 13, demonstrating the Smart Road Flyer, a low-cost, low-risk, multi rotor UAS being developed to support research in vehicle and highway systems.

UAS research in the three states will eventually include agricultural spray equipment testing, development of aeronautical procedures for integration of UAS flights in a towered airspace and developing training and operational procedures for aeronautical surveys of agriculture New Jersey’s Atlantic City International Airport will be a test location for mature operations after approval for integration with commercial passenger aircraft. The FAA’s William J Hughes Technical Center in New Jersey will assist with certification of concepts.

Two NASA aeronautics centers—the Langley Research Center and the Wallops Flight Facility—are located in Virginia. Maryland is home to the Pax River Naval Air Station—an operator of UAVs—and is also the headquarters of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.