SCHUMER JOINS WINNING NUAIR TEAM FOR UNMANNED AIRCRAFT TESTING SITE IN CENTRAL NEW YORK; REVEALS FIRST CLIENT - FLYTERRA, A NY-BASED AERIAL IMAGING COMPANY - AND TIMETABLE FOR BRINGING SITE ONLINE
Standing at Griffiss Int'l Airport, Schumer Unveils that Flyterra Will Be First NUAIR Client; Flyterra Will Use Unmanned Aircraft to Provide Up-to-Date Aerial Images and 3D Modeling Primarily for Use in the Agricultural Industry
Standing at the Griffiss International Airport's Commercial Hangar in Rome, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today revealed the first client to begin unmanned aircraft testing at Griffiss as a part of the NUAIR test site of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) - Flyterra. Schumer gave details about the proposed project, the timetable for starting research and testing overall, and also discussed next steps for funding NUAIR's work now that it has received this designation. Flyterra is private-sector company that provides aerial photos and 3D terrain models to clients at a cheaper cost than satellite photos, traditional aircraft, or surveying. Schumer and Flyterra expect this service to potentially benefit the agriculture, viticulture, and mining industry in Upstate New York and other regions, as well as aid in disaster response.
Through local meetings with NUAIR officials, a series of personal phone calls and meetings with Administrator Huerta and Transportation Secretary Foxx, Schumer worked to make the case that the Federal Aviation Administration (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. Schumer fought on behalf of Central New York because this designation will bring jobs and millions of dollars in high-tech investment to the Oneida County region. With the designation in-hand and the first client determined, Schumer today urged the FAA to work with NUAIR to allow it to start testing as soon as possible and be one of the first few sites brought into operation; the FAA has said the first site will begin research and testing within 180 days.
"By securing one of the FAA's unique designations to test unmanned aerial systems right here in the Mohawk Valley, the NUAIR team has received game-changing news that has been years in the making. With a leader like Griffiss International Airport, and the stellar academic and private business partners across the region, I knew this coalition was a winner and I made that clear to the FAA and the DOT," said Senator Schumer. "With NY-based Flyterra joining in as NUAIR's first client, we can expect this unmanned air systems research and testing to usher in jobs and benefit key industries, like agriculture and logistics. Today's announcement marks a pivotal turning point for the Central New York economy as we put Griffiss on the map as the place for next-generation UAV technology, research and investment."
"I'm pleased that NUAIR was selected by the FAA as a test site for this groundbreaking technology. NUAIR has the industry knowledge, public and private partnerships and the military installations already in place that make this site a perfect location for testing," said Senator Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, who spoke directly to the FAA Administrator on December 12 to urge support for Central New York. "This designation can pave the way for new economic growth and good-paying jobs for the region, and boost our research and development of new technology. I worked hard to make sure Administrator Huerta knew that New York has everything it takes for success in this venture, and I know the FAA made the right decision choosing NUAIR."
Schumer touted the many benefits of the UAS test site at Griffiss, including the almost 500 jobs and $145 million in direct economic impact the designation could create, plus the potential for attracting millions of dollars in research investment in the Central New York region in the long-run, as evidenced by the news of NUAIR's first publically-named private-sector client, Flyterra. NUAIR's FAA application was led by Griffiss, partnered with Syracuse'sCenterstate Corporation and MassDevelopment in Massachusetts. Hancock Air Field in Syracuse and Jefferson County'sFort Drum will also be an integral part with its Wheeler Sack Army Field Assets. According to NUAIR, the Griffiss International Airport UAS Test Center will offer a site for first class UAS R&D and operator training likely to be found in only one or two other places worldwide. Schumer was joined by Representative Hanna, Oneida County Executive Tony Picente, MVCC leaders and NUAIR officials at Griffiss International Airport, which submitted the application on behalf of the NUAIR partnership.
In addition to the research that the NUAIR team and its 40-plus industry and academic partners can now commence, Schumer announced that Flyterra would be the first client to make use of the new test site where the company can finally legally test UAS technology in the U.S., according to details provided by NUAIR. Flyterra is a NY-based, private-sector company that provides aerial photos and 3D terrain models to clients at a cheaper cost than satellite photos, traditional aircraft, or surveying. These images and 3D models, or digital elevation models (DEMs), can be obtained by UAVs at a fraction of the cost of traditional surveying methods and can be updated much more frequently. In areas like disaster response and monitoring crop development, obtaining up-to-date aerial images can be a vital resource to first responders and farmers. Flyterra operates small, electric-powered UAVs that have almost no impact on the environment. With the designation, Flyterra can now test their systems under ideal conditions and, for the first time, legally. Right now UAS systems, unless operated by hobbyists, are not allowed in residential or commercial airspace. Flyterra will use NUAIR's sites for testing and research of their product in the U.S. In particular, Schumer noted that Flyterra's technology could be of great benefit to Upstate New York's hundreds of wineries as well as other agriculture related businesses.
Schumer said he was eager to see research and testing begin in Griffiss, but clients like Flyterra require new operational tools - like detection and radar-monitoring systems from Saab Sensis and SRC, two of NUAIR's industry partners - to begin their test flights. For those companies to make investments at Griffiss and for those tools to go into place, the NUAIR test site designation must first be brought into service by the FAA and operational funds must be secured, through private, local, state and federal investment in airport development, plus other grant funding. Schumer vowed to focus his energy on delivering available funding to NUAIR, now that they have received this designation.
Now that the Griffiss-led application has been selected by the FAA, the Northeast UAS Airspace Integration Research Alliance (NUAIR) team will assemble its partners and put in place their plan to transform UAS applications, preparing for the future. NUAIR will conduct research and testing operations in order to begin the safe integration of unmanned aircraft systems into the National Airspace System. This research and testing will take place across Upstate New York in restricted airspace.
NUAIR has outlined how unmanned vehicles and other unmanned systems are projected to become ubiquitous over the next 10 to 15 years. Schumer has long fought on behalf of their application by underlining to Administrator Huerta how the FAA's own selection criteria for designation and UAS research highlights the assets the Central New York-led NUAIR application already possesses: a high concentration of academic and industry expertise, diverse testing conditions, and a strong track record in other UAS achievements. Since working to pass the legislation needed for Central New York to compete for this designation, Schumer worked hand-in-glove with locals to ensure their plan for the future of UAS technology, research and safety was ready for full FAA review and primed for success.
Schumer highlighted what it means for New York State to lead the way on UAS technology and research. He explained how the FAA's plan translates into jobs for New York. The NUAIR alliance of more than 40 aerospace industry and academic institutions means that researchers, engineers and other good-paying employers are engaged with universities to teach this technology and recruit experts in the industry. But, even more promising, are the commercial applications of UAS systems: like precision agriculture, cargo delivery, flood plain surveillance, meteorology, mail and freight transport and border security, among others. The promise of these commercial applications is closer at hand with the announcement of NUAIR's first commercial client - Flyterra - which proposes to use the testing site to make inroads in the precision agriculture sector by providing up-to-date aerial imaging and 3D modeling.
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 paves the way for this Central New York-centered site. Then, in a personal call to FAA Administrator Huerta, Schumer highlighted that New York's application benefits from the proximity of New York Air National Guard's 174th Attack Wing, the Air Force Research Laboratory in Rome, NY and Fort Drum. The Central New York region has a number of related high-tech firms, two restricted areas, four seasons, a varied terrain, an over water range, air to ground gunnery capability, large airspace volume and the cyber security assets of Rome Labs - all key components of an ideal test site. Organizations partnering with NUAIR include Saab Sensis, SRC, Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, and colleges and universities including Rochester Institute of Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Syracuse University, Clarkson University and Northeastern University and the Rome campus of Mohawk Valley Community College, among others.
Read this original document at: http://www.schumer.senate.gov/Newsroom/record.cfm?id=349265