Earlier this year, the FAA completed a lengthy 10-month process of selecting six UAV/drone test sites. 25 proposals from 24 states were submitted. According to the FAA:
In selecting the six test site operators, the FAA considered geography, climate, location of ground infrastructure, research needs, airspace use, safety, aviation experience and risk. In totality, these six test applications achieve cross-country geographic and climatic diversity and help the FAA meet its UAS research needs.
The FAA has some pretty specific research goals, including “System Safety & Data Gathering, Aircraft Certification, Command & Control Link Issues, Control Station Layout & Certification, Ground & Airborne Sense & Avoid, and Environmental Impacts.” Even with this long list of goals, they appear confident they will meet them.
FAA Test Sites:
Alaska, University of Alaska
University of Alaska, 903 Koyukuk Drive PO Box 757320 Fairbanks, AK 99775
North Dakota, North Dakota Chamber of Commerce
North Dakota Chamber of Commerce, 1600 East Century Avenue, Suite 2 Bismarck, ND 58503
Nevada, State of Nevada
State of Nevada, 555 East Washington, Suite 5400 Las Vegas, NV 89101
New York, Griffiss Airport
Griffiss, 592 Hangar Rd., Suite 200 Rome, NY 13441
Texas, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi
Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, 6300 Ocean Drive Corpus Christi, TX 78412
Virginia, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (“Virginia Tech”)