FAA Teams With USAF On Unmanned Aircraft Infrastructure Research


The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced today (Oct. 26) it is joining the U.S. Air Force in a coordinated effort to safely integrate Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) aircraft into the National Airspace System. The armed service and the FAA will exchange data and share technical and infrastructure assets and expertise to help test AAM development. The FAA signed the agreement with AFWERX, described in the announcement as “a Technology Directorate of the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and the innovation arm of the Department of the Air Force.”

FAA technology development director John Maffei said, “A new era of aviation is taking off and safe and efficient operations require collaboration. This data will help inform FAA certification efforts, policies, standards, and future airspace integration requirements.”

Colonel Elliott Leigh, AFWERX director and chief commercialization officer for the Department of the Air Force, said, “With this [memorandum of understanding] and the ongoing AAM Interagency Working Group, we are accelerating a breakthrough in electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft. We are driving progress in propulsion technology, in manufacturing and materials, and in test and safety for a novel class of air vehicles.”

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Mark Phelps is a senior editor at AVweb. He is an instrument rated private pilot and former owner of a Grumman American AA1B and a V-tail Bonanza.

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