FAA Adds Drone Integration Initiative Participants


The FAA has selected two partners for the second phase of its Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Traffic Management Pilot Program (UPP). The Virginia Tech Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership, located in Blacksburg, Virginia, and Rome, New York’s Griffiss International Airport (RME) will join the program as test site participants. The project’s first phase, which documented capabilities such as UAS volume reservation and the exchange of flight intent data between UAS operators, concluded in August 2019.

“UPP Phase 2 will showcase capabilities and services that support high-density [UAS] operations, including remote identification (Remote ID) services and public safety operations,” the FAA said in a statement. “Data collected from Phase 2 test activities will help inform a cross-agency Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) Implementation Plan.”

Phase 2 testing is expected to begin this year. UPP’s objectives were expanded to cover testing activities to enable safe beyond-visual-line-of-sight operations and Remote ID technologies by the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 (PDF). Along with NASA, Phase 1 participants included the Virginia Tech Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership, the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems and the Northern Plains UAS Test Site.

Kate O'Connor
Kate O’Connor works as AVweb's Editor-in-Chief. She is a private pilot, certificated aircraft dispatcher, and graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

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  1. I read today an article that was about law enforcement using drones to “encourage” social distancing. If the FAA continues to allow that kind of drone usage with all of the people expressing their disapproval of the current lockdowns, the FAA and congress risk losing what popular support there is for expanding drone usage.