The Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership (MAAP) at Virginia Tech, home to one of the six Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)-selected unmanned aircraft system (UAS) test sites, has signed an agreement with The Omnicon Group, a New York-based engineering company with experience in the development, verification and certification of both manned and unmanned aircraft.
The collaboration will focus on the testing and certification of UAS. According to MAAP, The Omnicon Group has assisted aerospace companies in obtaining airworthiness certifications for more than 90% of the world’s commercial aircraft. MAAP offers expertise in UAS flight testing and safety regulations. Thus, these complementary capabilities will strengthen both organizations as they continue to grow their presence in the UAS arena, explains MAAP.
“At Virginia Tech, we see tremendous benefits in combining airworthiness certification and flight testing,” says Rose Mooney, executive director of MAAP. “We look forward to working with The Omnicon Group, the Federal Aviation Administration and our consortium partners to offer a complete range of services to our customers interested in pursuing safe commercialization and integration of UAS technology.”
Karen J. Frank, The Omnicon Group’s vice president of corporate development and programs, explains, “With this alliance, we are excited to offer customers of both The Omnicon Group and Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership the opportunity to have a single source that can perform required safety analyses, software and hardware engineering support, and reliable flight testing.”
The FAA selected MAAP, headquartered at the Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science at Virginia Tech, in December 2013 as one of the six national test sites to conduct research to integrate UAS into the nation’s airspace.
Since then, MAAP says, it has worked with UAS to aid emergency responders, survey energy pipeline infrastructure, study agricultural land and teach reporters to cover news.