03.26.15

SCHUMER LAUNCHES PUSH TO CREATE FIRST-EVER DEDICATED FUNDING STREAM FOR FEDERAL UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS TESTING SITES LIKE NUAIR IN CENTRAL NEW YORK – FUNDING WOULD ALLOW TEST SITES TO FURTHER DEVELOP TECHNOLOGY & PERFORM CUTTING-EDGE RESEARCH

Schumer Previously Led the Charge to Get the FAA to Choose NUAIR as a Premier National UAS Research and Testing Site – Schumer Fought to Increase the Number of FAA Test Sites from 4 to 6, Paving the Way for NUAIR To Be Selected, Can Become a Center of Innovation and Jobs

 

Now, Schumer is Pushing Federal Appropriators to Open Up First-Ever Dedicated Federal Funding Stream for UAS Testing Sites Like NUAIR – Program Would Allow These 6 Sites Nationwide to Further Research & Develop UAS Technology With Goal of Integrating UAS Tech into National Airspace

 

Schumer Pushes Appropriators to Leverage Additional $2 Million in Requested Fed Funding to Further UAS Test Site Research & Development, Like Ground & Air ‘Sense And Avoid’ Technology, Which is NUAIR’s Specialty

 

Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer launched his push to create the first-ever dedicated federal funding stream for national Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) testing sites, like NUAIR in Central New York. The NUAIR project, at the very cutting-edge of a rapidly emerging new technology, can become  center of technological innovation and new jobs in Central New York, according to Schumer. Schumer explained that there are six sites nationwide, including NUAIR, that would be able to take advantage of this funding to further the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) UAS research goals of helping to fully integrate UAS technology into the national airspace.

 

Schumer said NUAIR’s specialty in developing ground and airborne sense and avoid technology is particularly important to ensuring safety and security as the U.S. works toward this integration, meaning NUAIR could be in prime position for supporting these UAS efforts. Schumer is urging federal appropriators to include $11.6 million in the Fiscal Year 2016 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill for the UAS research program, which is $2 million above the President’s proposed FY 2016 budget. Schumer said this additional $2 million should be used for UAS research by the FAA William J. Hughes Technical Center in collaboration with the six FAA UAS test sites across the country, like NUAIR. Schumer said NUAIR and these test sites around the U.S. were selected for the purpose of developing innovative technologies and best practices for airspace integration and, for this reason, must be able to utilize a federal funding stream to support their efforts.

 

“NUAIR has put Central New York on the map as a leader in unmanned aerial testing and research, and as they continue this cutting edge research, companies will keep flocking to the Central New York test site, allowing good-paying jobs to take off. One way we can further ensure this test site has the funding it needs to keep jobs in Central New York and remain on the cutting-edge of innovation is to open up a federal funding stream for NUAIR and the test sites like it around the country,” said Schumer. “That is why I am urging federal appropriators to dedicate, for the first time ever, federal funds that would be used exclusively by test sites like NUAIR to further develop ways to integrate UAS technology into the national airspace. We need to use every tool at our disposal to support NUAIR jobs in Central New York and this program is a prime example of a smart investment we can make in both our economy and in the safety of our national airspace.”

 

Schumer said these six UAS test sites, including NUAIR in Central New York, offer an important bridge toward integrating UAS into the National Airspace System (NAS), and it is important that these sites are provided with sufficient resources and authority to deliver safe and reliable UAS capability to the nation. Schumer is pushing federal appropriators to provide $11.6 million in federal funding for the UAS Research Program, with an additional $2 million in funding that can be leveraged for UAS research by the FAA William J. Hughes Technical Center in collaboration with the test sites. This center is a premier aviation, research and development, test and evaluation facility. Schumer said NUAIR’s specialty in researching and developing ground and airborne sense and avoid technology means it is well-positioned to utilize this kind of funding in a way that not only supports the FAA’s UAS national airspace integration goals but also supports local, high-tech jobs in Central New York.

 

Schumer has long been an advocate for bringing UAS jobs and technology to Central New York. In 2011, Schumer fought to increase the number of test sites in the National Airspace System for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) from 4 to 6, which paved the way for NUAIR to apply. Through local meetings with NUAIR officials, a series of personal phone calls and meetings with FAA Administrator Huerta and Transportation Secretary Foxx, Schumer worked to make the case that the FAA should select NUAIR’s application, led by Griffiss International Airport, to be one of the six national test sites for unmanned aerial systems (UAS) designation, and the FAA and DOT eventually heeded Schumer’s call. Schumer fought on behalf of Central New York because this designation promised to bring jobs and millions of dollars in high-tech investment to the Oneida County region.

 

The Northeast UAS Airspace Integration Research Alliance (NUAIR) is an organization of more than 40 academic institutions and private and public entities working together to establish FAA designated test sites for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in New York and Massachusetts.

 

Dear Chairman Collins and Ranking Member Reed,

 

We write to request increased funding for the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Research Program in the Fiscal Year 2016 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill. We respectfully request $11.6 million in funding for the UAS Research Program, which is $2 million above the President’s FY 2016 budget request of $9.6 million. This additional $2 million in funding should be leveraged for UAS research by the FAA William J. Hughes Technical Center in collaboration with the six FAA UAS test sites across the country, to further the FAA’s UAS research goals that will help integrate UAS into the national airspace.

 

In December 2013, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) selected six unmanned aircraft systems research and test sites to further the FAA’s UAS research goals of System Safety & Data Gathering, Aircraft Certification, Command & Control Link Issues, Control Station Layout & Certification, Ground & Airborne Sense & Avoid, and Environmental Impacts. We believe these test sites offer an important bridge toward integrating UAS into the National Airspace System (NAS), and it is important that these test sites are provided with sufficient resources and authority to deliver safe and reliable UAS capability to the nation. Moreover, we believe support for UAS research will help leverage the private dollars used to both establish and operate these national test sites. The FAA is already poised to collect, assess and apply the findings of these test sites at a tremendous savings to their overall budget. As the goal of airspace integration continues to progress, an investment of this kind would ensure the safety and security of our national airspace.   

 

The FAA William J. Hughes Technical Center (Tech Center) plays a key role in helping collect, protect, analyze, integrate and validate operational and safety data from the six test sites in support of UAS integration into the NAS. This data is essential for the FAA to develop a final rule integrating commercial UAS into the national airspace. Therefore, we recommend an additional $2 million above the President’s request for UAS Research, to be leveraged by the Tech Center at the six competitively awarded UAS test sites to further UAS research needs.

 

The Tech Center is a premier aviation, research and development, test and evaluation facility, and is well-positioned to support UAS research efforts. All six UAS test sites are operational and already yielding information that is instrumental in fully and safely integrating UAS into the NAS. We believe that, working together, the Tech Center and the test sites will make important advances that support the safe and timely integration of UAS into the national airspace. Thank you for your consideration of this important request.

 

Sincerely,

 

Charles E. Schumer

United States Senator

 

Mark B. Warner

United States Senator

 

Tim Kaine

United States Senator

 

Cory A. Booker

United States Senator

 

Robert Menendez

United States Senator

 

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