U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., is highlighting the importance of the proposed reauthorization – in the Senate’s FAA Reauthorization Act of 2016 – of the six Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)-designated test sites for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).
As a member of the Senate’s committee on commerce, science and transportation subcommittee on aviation operations, safety and security, Heller says he has worked closely with Chairman John Thune, R-S.D., on developing a FAA reauthorization bill over the past year. Thune, along with Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., introduced the legislation earlier this week.
Because Nevada is one of the six UAS test site locations, reauthorization will drive drone-related technological research and economic growth statewide, according to Heller.
Specifically, Sections 2122 and 2123 of the act include the senator’s priorities to provide Nevada’s testing sites – such as Reno-Stead Airport, Fallon Municipal Airport, Nellis Air Force Base and the Boulder City Municipal Airport – with more autonomy and flexibility to partner with industry to test UAS technology.
Heller says the bill also includes establishing annual research plans to contribute to authorizing beyond-line-of-sight drone operations at these sites.
“A safe and efficient air traffic control system is crucial to our nation’s security and economic health,” he explains. “Given the major role aviation plays in Nevada’s economy, I am particularly grateful to have secured numerous priorities in the FAA reauthorization legislation that will benefit our state. I look forward to working with Chairman Thune as the Senate moves this critical legislation forward.”