WASHINGTON, 15 Feb. 2013. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), in need of six unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) research and test sites throughout the U.S., is soliciting proposals from state and local governments, eligible universities, and other public entities.
“We expect to learn how unmanned aircraft systems operate in different environments and how they will impact air traffic operations. The test sites will also inform the agency as we develop standards for certifying unmanned aircraft and determine necessary air traffic requirements,” explains FAA Administrator Michael Huerta.
The FAA technical evaluation of submitted proposals will include consideration of:
- geographic diversity,
- climatic diversity,
- location of ground infrastructure and research needs,
- population density and air traffic density, and
- specific goals and objectives to be accomplished.
The combined attributes across the test sites should provide the appropriate environment and opportunities to test UAS, although, each test site will not have to provide all attributes.
“Our focus is on maintaining and improving the safety and efficiency of the world's largest aviation system,” says Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “This research will give us valuable information about how best to ensure the safe introduction of this advanced technology into our nation’s skies.”
Applicants will have 80 days to submit their research and test site proposal to the FAA through the Screening Information Request (SIR) process. The SIR is available on the FAA Contracting Opportunities website (http://faaco.faa.gov).
In developing the SIR and to ensure transparency, the agency has previously asked for input on the test site program.
The FAA anticipates selection of the six test sites will occur later this year.
For additional information, visit http://www.faa.gov/about/initiatives/uas/.