This Week: NJIT Conducts UAS Flights over the Atlantic Ocean

The New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) is conducting unmanned aerial systems (UAS) flights over the Atlantic Ocean on Jan. 27-29 at the U.S. Coast Guard Training Center (TRACEN) in Cape May, N.J.

As announced in November, the NJIT is testing the feasibility of safely integrating UAS into the public airspace and assessing the research and operational capabilities of several data-collecting sensors aboard the craft that can be used to improve emergency management planning and response.

Broadly defined, NJIT’s mission is to enhance the region’s homeland security and emergency management capabilities. Their primary goal is to develop drone-borne weather sensors that can predict where a major storm will make landfall as many as three days before existing technology now permits.

Pennsylvania-based flight company American Aerospace Advisors Inc. (AAAI) will operate the UAS from the Cape May facility.

The first UAS flights will take off from an airstrip at TRACEN and travel up to one nautical mile out over the ocean and as high as 3,000 ft. The ground-based pilot will be in communication with air traffic controllers during the flight.

After each flight, the team will assess the drone’s operational performance, as well as its success in gathering data, which NJIT will share with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and emergency management agencies.

Access to flight activities on Jan. 27 is limited to the NJIT and AAAI research teams and closed to external observers; access on Jan. 28 is by invitation only; and the morning flight on Jan. 29 is open to the media. However, NJIT notes that impending inclement weather could cause the schedule of flights to shift.

Those planning to attend should contact Tracey Regan, a media officer for NJIT, at least one day in advance and plan to meet her at the Coast Guard Police Department at 11:30 a.m. on Jan. 29.

In May, NJIT was the first New Jersey institution to receive a Certificate of Waiver/Authorization (COA) from the FAA to conduct UAS test flights into national airspace.

NJIT is a partner in the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership, a consortium with more than 70 members that is housed at Virginia Tech, which last year was designated one of the six UAS test sites.


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