November 3, 2014

Griffiss/NUAIR Alliance Reach Milestone

News Photo

First unmanned aircraft system flies at Griffiss FAA test site, part of testing to integrate UAS into class D airspace

Syracuse, NY – Today, the Griffiss International Airport (Federal Aviation Administration) FAA (unmanned aircraft systems) UAS Test Site and the Northeast UAS Airspace Integration Research Alliance (NUAIR Alliance) realized another important milestone regarding the mission of the Test Site - the operation and integration of UAS in class D airspace. This accomplishment was achieved during the experimental testing flight of a Logos Technologies unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).

The vehicle flown during today’s test flight is a powered parafoil system, which combines a fabric wing (essentially a parachute) with an aircraft fuselage. Beyond the parafoil system’s ability to carry significant loads for its weight class, the parafoil provides increased safety over traditional UAVs.

The UAV flown today is a test bed designed to further develop Logos’ flight control approach for inexpensively delivering supplies to dispersed units.

Experimental flights such as the flight accomplished today, are exactly what was intended by the FAA for the FAA UAS test sites. The ability to develop UAS within approved airspace could accelerate the development of such systems for many future applications, including precision agriculture, pipeline and power line monitoring, environmental monitoring, and disaster/humanitarian relief support.

“We are excited about being the first to fly a UAS at the Griffiss FAA test site. Today’s flight tests were a great success and allowed us to collect valuable data that will be critical to our development of parafoil systems for military and commercial applications,” said Dr. Wade Pulliam, director of Advanced Concepts at Logos Technologies. “We are grateful to the Griffiss/NUAIR Alliance and their partners for their wholehearted support in furthering UAS technology.”

"Through these first successful operational flights, the NUAIR Alliance and its partners have met a significant mandate for this test site," said Larry Brinker, executive director of the NUAIR Alliance. "This is an exciting step into the future of aviation and the deployment of unmanned aircraft systems."

Oneida County Commissioner of Aviation and Test Site Operator Russell Stark said that this event could not have been achieved without the support of Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente. Additionally, Commissioner Stark emphasized that without the efforts of the Griffiss/NUAIR Alliance, the Griffiss Tower, and the FAA this test would not have occurred. Stark went on to thank the entire Logos Team for selecting Griffiss for their test and he looks forward to Logos returning for future UAV testing.

The Northeast UAS Airspace Integration Research Alliance (NUAIR Alliance) is a consortium of industry leaders and academic institutions throughout New York, Massachusetts and as of last week, Michigan - is led by the CenterState Corporation for Economic Opportunity (CEO), in New York, and MassDevelopment, in Massachusetts. CenterState CEO is an organization of 2,000 companies that work together to increase business competitiveness, community prosperity, and regional growth in the 12-county CenterState New York region. MassDevelopment, the Commonwealth’s finance and development agency, works with businesses, nonprofits, financial institutions, and communities to stimulate economic growth throughout Massachusetts. Under the leadership of MassDevelopment and CenterState CEO, industry experts and academic institutions in both states formed NUAIR and combined assets, expertise and experience to compete for a FAA-designated UAS testing site. Organizations partnering with Griffiss International Airport and NUAIR include Saab Sensis, SRC, Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, and colleges and universities include Rochester Institute of Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Massachusetts institutions, Syracuse University, Clarkson University and Northeastern University, among others.

Griffiss was constructed in 1942 as a supply depot for the Army Air Forces and was home to the United State Air Force Strategic Air Command 416th Bomb Wing, flyingB-52s and KC-135s until the base closed in 1996. Today, Griffiss International Airport has become a regional economic development asset. The airport is home to the Griffiss Business and Tech Park and employs more than 6,000 military and civilian personnel. New York State has years of experience flying UAS through the 174th Air National Guard Wing and the Air Force Research Labs Information Directorate. The Griffiss UAS Test Site will build off of this experience and will establish New York State as a leader in civil and commercial UAS development and the safe integration of UAS into the nation’s airspace.

Oneida County Partners