On May 5, 2014, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced that the second of the six test sites chosen for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) research has been deemed operational.
The FAA granted a Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA) to the University of Alaska Fairbanks authorizing flights by an Aeryon Scout small UAS for animal surveys at the Pan-Pacific UAS Test Range Complex in Fairbanks. The COA is effective for two years.
The main purpose of the operation is to show how UAS can accurately locate, identify and count large wild animals. Once the capabilities of the Aeryon Scout are verified, wildlife survey operations will occur in multiple locations in Alaska.
Additionally, this test site will collect safety related operational data that will be needed for UAS integration. The research site is located within five miles of the Fairbanks International Airport. This location allows for the evaluation of procedures for coordination with air traffic controllers. This data will be used to prepare for future operations near airports in Alaska, Oregon and Hawaii.
The FAA announcement can be found here.