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IPP Selection Announcement: Multiple NASAO Members Awarded

       Pictured are representatives of AirMap, NC DoT, NASAO and FAA.

Yesterday, U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao announced the first 10 applications that were selected to participate in the Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Integration Pilot Program (IPP), that was introduced by President Trump late last fall. NASAO was well represented at the event with multiple State Directors and staff on hand for the announcement.

This White House initiative partners the FAA with local, state and tribal governments, which then partner with private industry to safely explore the further integration of drone operations. The program will help tackle the most significant challenges to integrating drones into the national airspace and will reduce risks to public safety and security.

NASAO commends the USDOT and the FAA UAS Integration Office for their selections and is pleased to see that three of the ten awardees were state aviation departments/DOTs.

“We have come a long way from the days when we were fending off a proposal to preempt states and localities outright with respect to the regulation of drones. While the ostensible concern about a “patchwork quilt” of regulations makes for a good soundbite, we have maintained the same message all along that a cooperative federal, state, and local model of governance will actually accelerate UAS integration and the path to nationwide UTM implementation,” said NASAO President and CEO Mark Kimberling. “We commend Secretary Chao for her recognition of this important role states can play as laboratories for democracy so-to-speak, and we’re confident that the IPP will further illuminate the benefits of cooperative federalism to unleash the full potential of the drone industry.”

The first 10 successful applicants of the UAS IPP are listed below and cover many parts of the country as well as a large variety of drone operations.

Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

City of San Diego (California)

Innovation and Entrepreneurship Investment Authority (Virginia)

Kansas Department of Transportation

Lee County Mosquito Control District (Florida)

Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority (Tennessee)

North Carolina Department of Transportation

North Dakota Department of Transportation

The City of Reno (Nevada)

University of Alaska Fairbanks

Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities: The Alaska DOT is partnered with the University of Alaska Fairbanks on the application. “We’re very excited about the selection and will be a huge part of the program,” said John Binder, Deputy Commissioner of Statewide Aviation, Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities.

North Carolina Department of Transportation: The proposal seeks to test localized package delivery within a defined airspace by establishing drone delivery stations in local communities. This approach enables small businesses to utilize this delivery platform for commercial purposes.

“North Carolina is honored to have been selected for the UAS Integration Pilot Program. Since the Wright Brothers’ first powered flight at Kitty Hawk in 1903, our state has always been at the forefront of aviation innovation,” said NCDOT Aviation Division Director Bobby Walston, who was onsite with his colleagues at the official announcement in Washington, DC. “That tradition continues with today’s announcement. We’re thrilled to be a part of aviation’s next chapter. Drones will soon be in the skies over our state delivering life-saving medical supplies. Beyond that, they’ll be delivering jobs, growth, and opportunity to the entire state and nation.”

Kansas Department of Transportation: The proposal deploys UAS to support beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) operations in rural communities. It seeks to leverage a state-wide unmanned traffic management (UTM) system to facilitate precision agriculture operations.

“This is a perfect time and place for aviation growth, and we are thrilled to join the FAA and other mission partners to advance the UAS industry,” said Kansas DOT Aviation Division Director Bob Brock.

North Dakota Department of Transportation: The proposal includes a wide variety of diverse operations that incorporate advanced technologies that seek to expand UAS operations at night and Beyond Visual Line of Sight. The proposal will focus on data from four criteria: external systems, aircraft system technologies, training requirements, and processes and procedures.

“I am deeply grateful to Secretary Chao and the U.S. DOT for their decision to select North Dakota as one of the participants for the UAS pilot integration program,” said North Dakota Aeronautics Commission Director Kyle Wanner. “Our state has much to offer in helping to provide innovative solutions in the development and application of unmanned systems. We look forward to getting to work immediately to help progress this technology to the benefit of both our state as well as the rest of country.”

Virginia Innovation and Entrepreneurship Investment Authority: The proposal seeks to facilitate package delivery in rural and urban settings. Its includes the use of enabling technologies such as detect and avoid, identification and tracking, radar systems, and mapping tools.

Over the course of the next two and a half years of the program, the USDOT anticipates awarding several other partnerships in future rounds.

Categories: News
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