FAA OKs BVLOS drone flights across entire NUAIR UAV corridor


The Northeast UAS Airspace Integration Research Alliance (NUAIR) received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) this week to operate beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) drone flights across the entire expanse of its 50-mile corridor in central New York – a liberty that will considerably enhance its efforts to develop a safe and reliable UAV U-space.

The news was so important to NUAIR’s work in developing activity within its drone corridor that the New York governor, Kathy Hochul, made the announcement of the FAA’s BVLOS ruling, which simultaneously benefits the state’s push to become a leader in drone and advanced air mobility (AAM) operation and systems.

In addition to the other testing capabilities the FAA decision permits, it allows NUAIR to operate BVLOS UAV flights between Griffiss International Airport in Rome, NY, and Syracuse International Airport.

Read: NUAIR, Sagetech test NY drone corridor situational awareness 

NUAIR is expected to use the FAA’s authorization to fully demonstrate the various ways BVLOS flights will enhance the operational and economic advantages of enterprise drone activity, as well as other AAM craft transporting passengers and cargo.

“This 50-mile corridor between Rome and Syracuse, New York, uniquely encompasses all the elements and infrastructure that are key for the commercialization of UAS applications such as inspections of transportation and utility infrastructure, medical logistics, environmental conservation, and public safety operations,” said NUAIR CEO Ken Stewart.

The good news from the FAA was only one of three developments that gave NUAIR reason to celebrate.

Hochul also announced the state will be providing NUAIR an additional $21 million in funding under the CNY Rising Upstate Revitalization Initiative to establish a top-draw drawer industrial hub along the 50-mile, now BVLOS-approved drone corridor.

That project aims to support the testing and deployment of critical infrastructure for advanced UAV applications; the adoption of drone tech by state agencies; and specialized job creation linked to those activities.

“New York’s state-of-the-art drone corridor further cements the state’s position as the global leader in this evolving market for cutting-edge drone technology,” Hochul said. “Through our continued investment and focus on drone corridor operations, we are strengthening and growing the regional economies in Central New York, the Mohawk Valley, and statewide for generations to come.”

Read: NUAIR, PABLO AIR partner on FAA compliant drone solutions 

The other auspicious development came with NUAIR revealing it will be forming a partnership with Quebec-based VPorts, which designs, builds, and operates AAM infrastructure. Their work together will develop a corridor between Syracuse International Airport and Quebec to enable full commercial cargo transport flown by uncrewed helicopters.

Photo: NUAIR

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