Arizona passed over for drone program

droneSome say Arizona has too many drones now. Still, others had hoped that officials in Pima County wouldn’t be too busy cutting deals to buy more land from their buddies, and the Governor of Arizona wouldn’t be too busy alienating as many people in Washington as she could, to put together a winning proposal to become one of the test sites for unmanned aircraft.

Their hopes were dashed on Monday, when the FAA announced that Arizona’s offerings were not among the six unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) research and test site operators who were selected. The sites were selected after a 10-month process involving 25 proposals from 24 states.

According to Politco, “the site selection is an important step toward tapping into the economic and job creation potential of drones over U.S. soil.” Politico reported that the announcement by the FAA was lauded as an “important milestone on the path toward unlocking the potential of unmanned aircraft,” by Michael Toscano, CEO of the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, which represents more than 7,000 member companies in 60 countries.

In selecting the six test site operators, the FAA considered geography, climate, location of ground infrastructure, research needs, airspace use, safety, aviation experience and risk. In totality, these six test applications achieve cross-country geographic and climatic diversity and help the FAA meet its UAS research needs.

The six test site operators and the research they will conduct into future UAS use are below:

University of Alaska. The University of Alaska proposal contained a diverse set of test site range locations in seven climatic zones as well as geographic diversity with test site range locations in Hawaii and Oregon. The research plan includes the development of a set of standards for unmanned aircraft categories, state monitoring and navigation. Alaska also plans to work on safety standards for UAS operations.

State of Nevada. Nevada’s project objectives concentrate on UAS standards and operations as well as operator standards and certification requirements. The applicant’s research will also include a concentrated look at how air traffic control procedures will evolve with the introduction of UAS into the civil environment and how these aircraft will be integrated with NextGen. Nevada’s selection contributes to geographic and climatic diversity.

New York’s Griffiss International Airport. Griffiss International plans to work on developing test and evaluation as well as verification and validation processes under FAA safety oversight. The applicant also plans to focus its research on sense and avoid capabilities for UAS and its sites will aid in researching the complexities of integrating UAS into the congested, northeast airspace.

North Dakota Department of Commerce. North Dakota plans to develop UAS airworthiness essential data and validate high reliability link technology. This applicant will also conduct human factors research. North Dakota’s application was the only one to offer a test range in the Temperate (continental) climate zone and included a variety of different airspace which will benefit multiple users.

Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi. Texas A&M plans to develop system safety requirements for UAS vehicles and operations with a goal of protocols and procedures for airworthiness testing. The selection of Texas A&M contributes to geographic and climactic diversity.

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech). Virginia Tech plans to conduct UAS failure mode testing and identify and evaluate operational and technical risks areas. This proposal includes test site range locations in both Virginia and New Jersey.

Each test site operator will manage the test site in a way that will give access to parties interested in using the site. The FAA’s role is to ensure each operator sets up a safe testing environment and to provide oversight that guarantees each site operates under strict safety standards.


  1. This is another mclame and company experience. Some years ago another facility was built in missisppi because trent lott and company pushed the agenda. BTW its a company that also sells UAV’s operated in cochise co and at ft Huachuca. mclame had no time to deal with it! Also there is no ‘aviation engineering program at UA’. mr lott got both built in for missippi state and then went on to locate a ship building facility in state!

    As noted in the person of the year award, mclame and company has done absolutely NOTHING other than suck at the public tit of this state. But then again the d’s have done about the same. The only time you hear about greedyhalfa is when he is whiniing about his southern brothers facing trials and tribulations while trying to sneak across the international border freely. All these guys have become millionaires suckking off the public tit. It is way past time to VOTE THEM ALL OUT. Who cares if the new guys/gals will not have any seniority, look what good it does for us now so they cant be any worse!! Follow the D’s mantra and VOTE and VOTE OFTEN (even i the same election) because they say there is no such thing as voter fraud so how they gonna catch ya and if they do, precedent has been set that they cant do anything about it!!

  2. – since Arizona is being passed over by the drones – the question now becomes how often and what do they want?

  3. ding ding ding… but we have a 90 million dollar trolly bell to ring right? It does have a bell right… ?

  4. And so it continues. Another worthwhile and job-producing program done in by the stupidity of the Tucson powers-that-be.

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