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FAA selects five host airports for testing unmanned aircraft systems

03 Mar 2021 (Last Updated March 3rd, 2021 17:39)

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has chosen five host airports to assess technologies and systems that can spot and minimise potential safety risks associated with unmanned airplanes.

FAA selects five host airports for testing unmanned aircraft systems
The testing will commence later this year and will continue till 2023. Credit: Bao Menglong / Unsplash.

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has chosen five host airports to assess technologies and systems that can detect and minimise potential safety risks associated with unmanned aircraft.

This initiative is undertaken under the agency’s Airport Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Detection and Mitigation Research Programme.

The chosen airports are Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in Seattle, Atlantic City International Airport in Atlantic City, Syracuse Hancock International Airport in Syracuse, Huntsville International Airport in Huntsville, and Rickenbacker International Airport in Columbus.

These airports were selected as they fulfil the FAA requirements for varied testing environments and exhibit airport operating settings found across the country.

The aim of the research is to deploy new technologies that will make airports safer for manned aircraft and passengers.

Researchers are planning to assess at least ten technologies or systems at the selected airports.

Testing will commence later this year and continue until 2023.

This project will enable the development of standards for upcoming unmanned aircraft detection and mitigation technologies at airports in the US.

According to the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018, the agency must ensure that the used technologies do not affect safe airport operations.

The agency stated that it does not support the use of counter-UAS systems by any establishment other than federal departments with explicit statutory authority to use this technology.

Last month, the US Department of Transportation (DOT) announced three grants under the FAA’s FY2021 Airport Improvement Program (AIP) for infrastructure projects.

The grants have offered around $76m to Dallas-Fort Worth International, Chicago O’Hare International and Fort Lauderdale / Hollywood International Airports.