FAA Grants ND UAS Test Site Broader Air Access

February 12, 2015

The Federal Aviation Administration has authorized unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) to fly in a wide area of North Dakota, a move that will give industry more opportunities for research that could help the agency integrate UAS into the nation's airspace.

Two Certificates of Waiver or Authorization (COAs) awarded to the Northern Plains UAS Test Site greatly expand the airspace available for research flights to most of northeastern North Dakota. The FAA soon expects to approve two more COAs that will make such missions possible in about two-thirds of the state.

The FAA has approved five different types of small UAS (under 55 lbs.) to fly in the Northern Plains test site. The latest FAA authorizations will allow the site to add additional UAS to the existing airspace through a prearranged process with the FAA. This streamlined process will speed up the approval process for the industry and the FAA.