FAA UAS Test Site Program

The FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (FMRA 2012) directed the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Administrator to initiate a 5-year program to establish unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) test sites to support the FAA in integrating UAS into the national airspace system (NAS). After conducting a competitive selection process, the FAA designated seven UAS Test Sites, which became operational in 2014 and began to conduct test flights. In 2016, the FAA added a seventh test site as mandated by the FAA Extension, Safety and Security Act of 2016 (FESSA 2016). The following list names the seven FAA UAS Test Sites:

  1. Griffiss International Airport, NY
  2. New Mexico State University, NM
  3. North Dakota Department of Commerce, ND
  4. State of Nevada, NV
  5. Texas A&M University Corpus Christi, TX
  6. University of Alaska Fairbanks, AK
  7. Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University, VA

The main objective of the UAS Test Site Program is to provide verification of the safety of public and civil UAS, operations, and related navigation procedures before their integration into the NAS. Other program requirements include supporting the FAA during the development of certification standards, air traffic requirements, coordinating research and other work with National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), FAA NextGen, the Department of Defense, and other Federal agencies.

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