Fairbanks North Dakota Department of Commerce Texas A&M University Corpus Christi Griffiss International Airport (NY) Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State
FAA Announces Six UAS Test Sites
After a rigorous 10-month selection process involving 25 proposals from 24 states, the Federal Aviation Administration has chosen six unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) research and test site operators across the country. In selecting the six test site operators, the FAA considered geography, climate, location of ground infrastructure, research needs, airspace use, safety, aviation experience and risk. In totality, these six test applications achieve cross-country geographic and climatic diversity and help the FAA meet its UAS research needs.
- University of Alaska (includes test ranges in Hawaii, Oregon, Kansas, and Tennessee)
This test site was approved for operations on May 5, 2014. Read the press release: FAA Announces Alaska UAS Test Site Begins Research Flights.
- State of Nevada
This test site was approved for operations on June 9, 2014. Read the press release: FAA Announces Nevada UAS Test Site Now Operational.
On December 19, 2014, the State of Nevada Test Site completed the first Special Airworthiness Certificate in the Experimental Category under the new FAA Test Site Designated Airworthiness Representative (DAR) Program. The Sensurion Magpie was awarded this certificate.
- New York's Griffiss International Airport (includes test range locations in Massachusetts and Michigan)
This test site was approved for operations on August 7, 2014. Read the press release: FAA Announces New York UAS Test Site Now Operational.
- North Dakota Department of Commerce
Two Broad Area COAs were approved for the North Dakota Department of Commerce Test Site on February 11, 2015. These COAs greatly expanded the airspace available for research flights to most of northeastern North Dakota.
This test site was approved for operations on April 21, 2014. Read the press release: FAA Announces First UAS Test Site Operational.
- Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi
This test site was approved for operations on June 20, 2014. Read the press release: FAA Announces Texas UAS Test Site Now Operational.
- Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) (includes test ranges in New Jersey and Maryland)
This test site was approved for operations on August 13, 2014. Read the press release: FAA Announces Virginia Tech UAS Test Site Now Operational.
Across the six applicants, the FAA is confident that the agency's research goals of System Safety & Data Gathering, Aircraft Certification, Command & Control Link Issues, Control Station Layout & Certification, Ground & Airborne Sense & Avoid, and Environmental Impacts will be met.
Each test site operator will manage the test site in a way that will give access to parties interested in using the site. The FAA's role is to ensure each operator sets up a safe testing environment and to provide oversight that guarantees each site operates under strict safety standards.
- Press Release
- News story
- Fact Sheet
- FAA Order Selecting Six UAS Test Sites (PDF)
- Test Site Selection Public Meetings
- UAS Test Site Frequently Asked Questions
UAS Designated Airworthiness Representatives (DARs) at UAS Test Sites
The FAA issued an Order for Designated Airworthiness Representatives for UAS Certification at UAS Test Sites on September 17, 2014.
This order sets policy and provides training requirements limited to the issuance of special airworthiness certificates in the experimental category at UAS Test Sites. Experimental certificates are issued to aircraft that do not possess traditional airworthiness certificates, for specific operations including crew training or showing compliance with regulations.
For more information or to take advantage of this program, contact a UAS Test Site.