FAA makes use of 5 U.S. airports to check drone security protocols

Image: NASA

A select group of American airports are bringing the latest technical solutions for drone air traffic systems to the market.

The FAA today announced the selection of five American airports to evaluate technology to identify and mitigate potential security risks posed by rogue drones.

As part of its research program on the detection and mitigation of unmanned aircraft systems at airports, the FAA selected:

  • Atlantic City International Airport in Atlantic City, New Jersey
  • Syracuse Hancock International Airport in Syracuse, New York
  • Rickenbacker International Airport in Columbus, Ohio
  • Huntsville International Airport in Huntsville, Alabama
  • Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in Seattle, Washington

“These airports meet FAA requirements for various test environments and represent the operating conditions of the airport in the United States,” said an FAA statement.

The federal agency hopes the plan will make airports safer for passengers and manned aircraft. The researchers plan to test and evaluate at least 10 systems at the five airports.

Testing will begin later this year and will continue through 2023. FAA officials say the plan will set standards for future drone detection and mitigation technologies at airports across the country.

“According to the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018, the agency must ensure that technologies used to detect or mitigate potential risks from unmanned aircraft do not impair safe airport operations. The FAA does not endorse the use of counter-UAS systems by any agency other than federal departments with specific legal authority to use this technology, including requirements for full coordination with the FAA to ensure that security risks are mitigated. “

Towards a Safer Heaven

The FAA move is part of a broader program to create a unified traffic management system across US airspace that includes safer manned and unmanned flight.

In January 2019, the FAA started Phase I of the UTM Pilot Program (UPP). The objectives of Phase I included: “(1) Exchange of flight intentions between operators, (2) generation of notifications to UAS operators about air and ground activities, known as UAS Volume Reservations (UVRS), and (3) the ability to Share UVRs with stakeholders, including other UAS Service Suppliers (USS) and the Flight Information Management Systems (FIMS), ”according to the FAA. This phase was completed in August 2019.

In UPP phase 2, remote ID functions and unmanned traffic are tested in an increasingly dense airspace, such as can be found in urban areas or near important airports. In April 2020, the FAA selected the NY UAS test site at Griffis International Airport and Virginia Tech, Mid Atlantic Aviation Partnership (MAAP) as phase 2 test sites: Northeast UAS Airspace Integration Research Alliance, Inc. (NUAIR) manages the NY UAS test Site and announced that virtual collaboration with technology partners began in April and live flights are slated to begin this month.

Miriam McNabb contributed to this report.

Jason is a longtime DroneLife employee with an avid interest in all things technical. He focuses on anti-drone technologies and the public safety sector. Police, fire and search and rescue.

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