FAA Selects Airports For Anti-Drone Systems Testing


The FAA has chosen five host airports to test technologies designed to “detect and mitigate potential safety risks” presented by unmanned aircraft systems (UAS/drones). The airports selected are New Jersey’s Atlantic City International Airport (ACY); Syracuse Hancock International Airport (SYR) in New York; Rickenbacker International Airport (LCK) in Columbus, Ohio; Huntsville International Airport (HSV) in Alabama; and Washington’s Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA). According to the FAA, at least ten counter-UAS technologies or systems will be evaluated at the airports.

“These airports meet FAA requirements for diverse testing environments and represent airport operating conditions found across the United States,” the agency said in a statement. “The research will lead to the implementation of new technologies that will make airports safer for passengers and manned aircraft.”

The evaluations, which are being conducted to meet requirements laid out in the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 (PDF), are part of the FAA’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems Detection and Mitigation Research program. Testing is expected to begin in 2021 and continue through 2023. The FAA emphasized that it does not support the use of counter-UAS systems by any entities other than federal departments with explicit authority to use them.

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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. “Selects,” as in the present tense?

    They have been testing something like this at ACY for years. There are NOTAMS for sporadic disruption of GPS and radio signals in the vicinity. I asked a controller about it once and he said he’d have to kill me if he told me 🙂