Texas A&M Corpus Christi selected by FAA as unmanned systems test site

Texas A&M Corpus Christi selected by FAA as unmanned systems test site
Monday, December 30, 2013 - 2:47pm

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced its selection of Texas A&M University Corpus Christi as one of six public entities that will develop unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) research and test sites around the country. U.S. Congressman Blake Farenthold (TX-27) and Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-TX-28) praised the FAA’s selection of Texas A&M University Corpus Christi.

“The combination of the expertise Texas A & M Corpus Christi and wide open airspace in Texas make this an excellent choice for UAS research and development,” said Congressman Farenthold, a member of the Congressional Caucus on Unmanned Systems and Congressional Privacy Caucus. “This is a huge win for TAMUCC and the whole state of Texas. It gives our region the opportunity to take a leadership role in both the technology and policy challenges that will arise as these unmanned vehicles are developed, refined and deployed.”

“As a longtime supporter and advocate for the use of unmanned systems along the border, I congratulate Texas A&M Corpus Christi for this victory in becoming one of only six national test sites for UAS,” said Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-TX-28), co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Unmanned Systems. “It has been a long process bringing this test site to Texas and we in the caucus have had several conversations with the FAA. It has been my pleasure to work alongside Congressman Farenthold and the other members of the Caucus to secure this site.”

Congressman Farenthold and Congressmen Henry Cuellar, along with Congressman Gene Green (D-TX-29), Pete Olson (R-TX-22), and John Carter (R-TX-31), have sent letters to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta, the most recent in December highlighting Texas’ commitment to the promising technology of unmanned aircraft.

“We believe Texas would be a strong partner with the FAA in carefully managing the research and development of the UAS technology,” the Congressmen said in a December letter.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is moving steadily ahead to safely integrate unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) into the largest, most complex air traffic systems in the world. The agency’s activities must address the needs of a diverse aviation community while ensuring current users both in the air and on the ground remain safe.

The testing sites will allow the agency to develop research findings and operational experiences to help ensure the safe integration of UAS into the nation's airspace as we transition to NextGen air traffic control technologies and procedures.

Texas A&M University Corpus Christi plans to develop system safety requirements for UAS vehicles and operations with a goal of protocols and procedures for airworthiness testing. The selection of Texas A&M contributes to geographic and climactic diversity.

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