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FAA OKs North Dakota UAS Test Site for Beyond-Line-of-Sight Operations

The Federal Aviation Administration has authorized an unmanned aircraft system test site in North Dakota to oversee UAS operations that go beyond operators’ line of sight.

Sen. John Hoeven’s (R-North Dakota) office said a release posted Wednesday that the Northern Plains UAS Test Site can now support efforts to develop, test and evaluate new applications for UAS technology through FAA’s certificate of authorization.

“This authorization will help companies like General Atomics, Northrop Grumman and future tenants at the Grand Sky technology park test and evaluate complex UAS operations possible nowhere else in the nation,” said Hoeven.

He added BLOS operability could encourage government agencies such as NASA, the U.S. Air Force and the Department of Homeland Security to bring UAS integration efforts to North Dakota.

Hoeven said in July he met with NASA leaders to discuss opportunities for the space agency to launch a UAS traffic management program in the state.

The Northern Plains UAS Test Site will use a chase plane until the Grand Sky technology park completes a software update that will link the test site to the Grand Forks Air Force Base’s DASR-11 digital radar system.

DASR-11 is designed to help operators monitor unmanned aircraft that fly beyond line of sight.

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