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Fri, Jun 11, 2010

FAA, Insitu To Study UAS Integration Into NAS

Research Managed By Hughes Technical Center In Atlantic City

The FAA has signed a cooperative research development agreement (CRDA) with UAS manufacturer Insitu for a ScanEagle unmanned aircraft system (UAS) and related support hardware and data. The FAA will use the aircraft to conduct research needed to guide the development of recommendations for integrating unmanned aircraft systems into the national airspace.

The research will be managed by the Research and Technology Development Office and conducted at the William J. Hughes Technical Center in Atlantic City, NJ. As part of the agreement, Insitu will train FAA pilots and support staff to fly and maintain the system. The company will also supply documentation related to the ScanEagle UAS.

“The FAA has a well-equipped laboratory and resources at the technical center that will allow them to fully evaluate our Tier II system,” said Insitu Vice President, Commercial Business Development Paul McDuffee. “Through the CRDA, the FAA will have an opportunity to better understand UAS design, construction and functionality. It will also begin determining differences in how an air traffic controller manages an unmanned aircraft versus a manned aircraft by integrating the ScanEagle system with existing FAA air traffic control simulation capabilities.”

 
ScanEagle UAS File Photo

Insitu, based in Bingen, WA, is a subsidiary of Boeing.

ScanEagle has proven itself in military operations particularly in providing intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and has flown more than 320,000 hours performing such missions. However, the ScanEagle can have practical benefits in civil applications as well. For example, ScanEagle, with its 24-hour endurance capability, can be useful in search and rescue operations, for fire and flood monitoring and for guiding evacuation efforts during hazardous weather conditions, particularly when flying a manned aircraft would be too risky for the pilot or too expensive.

FMI: www.faa.gov, www.insitu.com

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