NUAIR Teams with Indian Nation on UAS-Based Environmental Protection Program


The Oneida Indian Nation, a federally recognized Indian nation in central New York, has formed a new partnership with Northeast UAS Airspace Integration Research (NUAIR).

Based out of Syracuse, N.Y., NUAIR is a coalition of private and public entities and academic institutions providing expertise in the operation and management of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). The new partnership is expected to further enhance the nation’s ability to monitor, observe, manage and protect its lands and environmental resources via drone technology, particularly in isolated or hard-to-reach areas.

NUAIR’s aviation professionals will partner with the nation to build a drone program – specifically, focusing on strategic planning, evaluation and continued monitoring. NUAIR will also help with the training and certification of nation staff to independently operate the drones.

The new partnership was made possible through a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Indian Environmental General Assistance Program. The nation secured the grant in 2018 as a four-year capacity-building project and selected NUAIR after a request for proposals process.

“The Oneida Indian Nation is fundamentally committed to environmental protection,” says Ray Halbritter, representative of the Oneida Indian Nation and CEO of its enterprises. “Our partnership with NUAIR on this exciting new project will enable the nation to not only continue but enhance our stewardship of the environment and to ensure its preservation now and for future generations.”

“Going from a pickup truck surveying the land from the ground to being able to deploy a drone and get a more complete aerial view of their land will significantly assist the Oneida Indian Nation’s environmental conservation efforts,” adds Mike Hertzendorf, CEO of NUAIR. “NUAIR, in collaboration with AX Enterprize, Measure and SkyOp, will assist the nation in developing procedures for safe and effective flights, on-site flight training, Part 107 pilot training, product purchase advisement and more over the next four years.”

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