New York’s Griffiss International Airport, home to one of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) drone test sites, says it is looking into noise concerns posed by the ArcticShark unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), which has recently been appearing in the Griffiss airport traffic pattern.
A press release from the Oneida County, N.Y., government says Griffiss and the Rome, N.Y., area were selected to test the UAV, which was manufactured by Pennsylvania-based Navmar Applied Sciences Corp. (NASC).
NASC was contracted by the U.S. government to build a special version of an existing UAV, the TigerShark, for use in the Arctic. NASC has chosen the name ArcticShark for this TigerShark variant because it has been specially modified for cold-weather operations. Nearly 180 TigerSharks have been manufactured by NASC for use by various civilian and government customers globally and have safely flown more than 100,000 flight hours, the release says.
“We understand that there have been a few concerns regarding the noise levels of this platform,” states Russell Stark, Oneida County’s commissioner of aviation. “In an effort to lessen the noise impact to our neighbors, we are addressing these concerns by looking into a potential modification of the traffic pattern and/or coordinate higher altitudes for the aircraft to operate.”
Stark adds, “However, you should know that the Griffiss UAS test site must consider and follow safety protocols before any changes can occur, as safety is and always will be our primary concern.”
The aircraft has three independent systems for command and control in order to provide redundant levels of safety. The aircraft is under direct control of pilots in the NASC mobile operations center/ground control station, located at Griffiss International Airport. In addition, air traffic control is being coordinated by the Griffiss airport control tower.
ArcticShark flight operations at Griffiss are expected to be concluded no later than Jan. 20, says Oneida County.