Kansas State University’s newest certificate of authorization will allow students in the unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) program to gain experience flying an Aerosonde Mk 4.7 in Class D airspace.
The program recently became one of only a few civil entities granted a certificate of authorization within Class D airspace from the FAA. The authorization allows the program, based at the Salina Municipal Airport (SLN), to operate its unmanned aircraft, an Aerosonde Mk 4.7, in the national airspace system.
“K-State’s certificate of authorization allows our students to practice handing control over to the next ground station, practice simulated lost-link procedures, and experience scenario-based mission deployments, all of which will prepare them for possible search-and-rescue mission deployments in the future,” said Josh Brungardt, director of the unmanned aircraft systems office.
Brungardt estimates a minimum of 10 students will assist with each practice mission.
Even though unmanned test flights are new for the Salina runway, the airport does not foresee any complications, according to officials. “The Salina airport hosts a variety of manned aircraft, and unmanned procedures are no different,” said Tim Rogers, executive director of the Salina Airport Authority. “Runway 18-36 is ideally suited for K-State unmanned aircraft systems operations and training missions.”
The training flights will not close any runways and a notice to airmen will be filed at least 48 hours in advance of each flight, he added.
K-State’s unmanned aircraft systems program office collaborates with military organizations and the private sector to develop unmanned flight in the nation’s airspace and training pilots and operators of unmanned aircraft systems. K-State also establishes criteria for unmanned aircraft system flight operations, including activity at the Smoky Hill Weapons Range and eventually at the Herington unmanned aircraft system flight facility. The university’s program office establishes policies and procedures to enable both military and civilian organizations to fly and test at the area facilities. For more information: Salina.K-State.edu