FAA Continues Drone Integration Initiatives

Friday, April 10, 2020

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today announced two new participants for the unmanned aircraft Traffic Management Pilot Program (UPP).

The FAA’s NextGen program selected Virginia Tech Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership in Blacksburg, Va., and Griffiss International Airport in Rome, N.Y., as test site participants for Phase 2 of the pilot program.

UPP Phase 2 will showcase capabilities and services that support high-density Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) operations, including remote identification (Remote ID) services and public safety operations. Data collected from Phase 2 test activities will help inform a cross-agency Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) Implementation Plan.

UPP Phase 1 was completed in August 2019 in collaboration with NASA, FAA UAS test sites and their industry partners. Phase 1 tested capabilities such as the exchange of flight intent data among UAS operators. Participants also generated UAS Volume Reservations (UVRs), which are notifications to operators about inbound priority operations.

The FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 extended the objectives of the UPP to include testing Remote ID technologies and operations with increasing volumes and density to enable safe beyond-visual-line-of-sight UAS operations.

The FAA and NASA held a UPP Phase 2 Industry Workshop in December 2019. Among other things, the workshop outlined the sample-use cases for validating and demonstrating Remote ID technologies. Following the workshop, the FAA issued a Screening Information Request to FAA UAS Test Sites and received proposals on Jan. 29, 2020. The next steps include kick-off meetings to begin planning activities.