October 03, 2018

Cortez Masto, Heller Support Nevada Application to Participate in DOT-FAA Unmanned Traffic Management Pilot Program

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) and Dean Heller (R-Nev.) sent a letter to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Acting Administrator Daniel Elwell in support of Nevada’s application to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) Pilot Program (UPP). The State of Nevada UPP application brings together 17 Nevada-based and global companies to launch the first Smart City Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) concept. Their proposal will set Nevada apart from other UAS Test Site applications.  

“As one of the seven FAA-designated UAS test sites, Nevada has already proven its leadership in advancing UAS industry UTM with NASA and providing a favorable environment for research, policy development, and commercial flight operations that contribute to the safe integration of UAS into the NAS,” wrote the senators. “Nevada has the distinct benefit of being the only designated statewide UAS test site, offering a favorable geography and climate for testing, strong partnerships with universities, and infrastructure in place due to the work of the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems (NIAS) – all of which are critical to the UPP’s success. The NIAS is comprised of experienced pilots and former senior military officers and is a NASA-preferred partner for operational testing of the UTM.” 

A full copy of the letter can be found HERE and below: 

Dear Administrator Elwell:

As members of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, we write to you today in support of the State of Nevada's public-private partnership application to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for designation as a select participant in the Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) Pilot Program (UPP). We are proud to support this comprehensive, leading-edge proposal that will advance the shared goal of safely integrating unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) into the National Airspace System (NAS) and help the U.S. lead in the UTM innovation race. 

As one of the seven FAA-designated UAS test sites, Nevada has already proven its leadership in advancing UAS industry UTM with NASA and providing a favorable environment for research, policy development, and commercial flight operations that contribute to the safe integration of UAS into the NAS. Nevada has the distinct benefit of being the only designated statewide UAS test site, offering a favorable geography and climate for testing, strong partnerships with universities, and infrastructure in place due to the work of the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems (NIAS) – all of which are critical to the UPP’s success. The NIAS is comprised of experienced pilots and former senior military officers and is a NASA-preferred partner for operational testing of the UTM.

The State of Nevada UPP application brings together 17 Nevada-based and global companies to launch the first Smart City UAS concept, setting Nevada apart from other UAS test site applications. To complement its own expertise and proven track record as an FAA UAS test site, Nevada's application also includes a diverse array of Nevada-based and global partners that will offer invaluable UTM insights and expert knowledge to significantly advance the FAA’s UTM pilot program through an innovative Smart City Concept while ensuring local and national DOT interests are well-balanced. Many of these partners are UAS industry leaders in flight operations, delivery, data management, UTM, and sense and avoid sensors. Furthermore, in line with the goals of the UTM Pilot Program, the Nevada team brings with it a long list of accomplishments, including the deployment of the greatest number of UTM developers participating at a single UAS test site location, the first autonomous cloud seeding, and oversight of other record-setting night and multiple aircraft operations. 

Again, we urge your strong consideration of this innovative Smart City UPP application. In our work on the Commerce Committee and in the recently-approved Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization bill, we co-authored provisions to advance the certification of UTM and remain committed to developing this technology and leveraging Nevada’s leadership in UAS. Please feel free to contact our offices with any question.

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