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10772FAA Announces Network of UAS Test Zones

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  • dave santos
    Dec 31 8:12 AM
      In headline news, the US FAA announced details yesterday of a national network of approved test flying zones for UAS.Existing Sense and Avoid procedures and emerging NextGen instrumentation standards will be required (see TACO 1.0). AWES will be in the mix of UAS aircraft types. 

      Texas is a big winner, with several large flying zones, from the coastal bend region to the western bend region, with test altitudes up to 18,000 ft. Texas A&M University will be the lead research institution in the state. kPower of Austin, in particular, has been positioning for this long foreseen expansion, with plans to pioneer AWE testing at higher altitudes than the current de-facto 2000ft ceiling (FAA AWE provisional standard, and the upper norm in EU AWE), superseding ad-hoc case-by-case experimental approvals.

      This news represents the vanguard of a US airspace revolution, with virtually unlimited drone applications to be incorporporated into general airspace as early as 2017, when the newly announced test phase is set to culminate. In Texas alone, A&M estimates a ten year 8 billion USD economic boom, with over 1000 jobs created (In today's Austin American Statesman).

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