For the upcoming Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization bill, U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., is pushing for an extension of the six FAA-designated unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) test sites.
According to Schumer, the Northeast UAS Airspace Integration Research (NUAIR) Alliance, which heads the test site at Griffiss International Airport in Oneida County, N.Y., could expire in 2017 if the bill does not extend the sites.
The current FAA authorization is set to expire on March 31, and Congress must pass legislation to reauthorize the agency before that date. Schumer says he wrote to the Senate committee on commerce, science and transportation to urge the inclusion of language to extend NUAIR and the site operators. The senator says extending the test sites gives the now-nascent UAS industry a chance to grow stronger in the coming years while leveraging the existing work that has already been accomplished at the sites.
“NUAIR and all of their cutting-edge research could be in jeopardy if Congress does not extend the UAS test sites in the upcoming FAA Reauthorization bill,” says Schumer. “An extension will protect and grow jobs, spur new technology, and support cutting-edge research.
“That is why I am pushing for language in this bill to extend NUAIR and the other test sites to help them further develop ways to integrate UAS technology into the national airspace. We need to use every tool at our disposal to support NUAIR and the important work they do in central New York, and I am dedicated to fighting for this smart investment for years to come,” the senator explains.
Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., and Rep. Frank LoBiondo, R-N.J., recently proposed the FAA reauthorization bill, the Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization Act, which includes a section covering the operations of UAS. Proposals in this section included promoting greater usage of the six FAA test sites, including the further development of sense-and-avoid technology.