Fifty Applicants Respond to FAA's UAS Test Site Call

 - March 11, 2013, 10:36 AM

Fifty applicants from 37 states responded to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s screening information request (SIR) for public entities interested in operating test ranges for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). The agency set a March 6 “identification of applicant” deadline; the selection of operators for six national test sites is planned for the end of the year.

The FAA issued the SIR on February 14 in response to a requirement by Congress in the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 that it establish a UAS test site program. The agency declined to identify the responding applicants, citing procurement regulations. Applicants must be non-federal public entities such as state or local governments, their departments, agencies or special purpose districts, or a “commuter authority.” They must complete several filings, including the submission of documentation showing compliance with SIR requirements by March 28.

The identification of applicant submission should include information about the applicant, test range and team members, according to the SIR. It requires “the entry of latitude and longitude coordinates of the center point of any airspace to be included as part of the range.”

A similar demonstration effort is being conducted in Europe. Last week, the Single European Sky ATM Research Joint Undertaking (SJU) said that it has extended its call for proposals deadline for remotely piloted air system (RPAS) demonstration activities until May 31. The SJU will select and co-finance about 10 demonstration projects leading to the introduction of RPAS in non-segregated airspace by 2016. It will conduct an information day on the program at its Brussels offices on March 18.