The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has expanded airspace and authorized night testing for the Northern Plains unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) test site in Grand Forks, N.D.
The site can now conduct tests at night and, through a new Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA), can use airspace throughout the entire state at altitudes higher than 200 feet, which is prescribed in the blanket COAs issued to all six FAA-approved test sites in the U.S.
According to the North Dakota Department of Commerce, this is the first of the sites to receive this type of COA.
“The addition of night flying opens up the opportunities for industry partners to test sensor payloads in all lighting conditions,” says Robert Becklund, executive director of the Northern Plains UAS Test Site.
“UAS technologies offer many opportunities across a wide variety of uses, including agriculture, energy and border security,” says U.S. Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D. “[This] announcement by the FAA will support the Northern Plains test site and the Grand Forks region’s continued excellence in testing and developing these technologies. That means greater opportunities for our state’s residents in this growing and vibrant industry.”