The FAA has expanded the airspace for remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) in North Dakota.
Two Certificates of Waiver or Authorization (COAs) awarded to the Northern Plains UAS Test Site “greatly expand” the airspace available for research flights to most of northeastern North Dakota, according to FAA officials.
FAA officials add that they soon expect to approve two more COAs that will make missions possible in about two-thirds of the state.
The FAA has approved five different types of small RPA (under 55 pounds) to fly in the Northern Plains test site.
The latest FAA authorizations will allow the site to add additional RPAs to the existing airspace through a prearranged process with the FAA. This streamlined process will speed up the approval process for the industry and the FAA, agency officials note.
The expansion allows the Northern Plains UAS Test Site to offer industry partners increased airspace access to meet their research objectives, according to officials. The streamlined process for integrating new users will “further enhance the capabilities of the Northern Plains UAS Test Site while advancing the FAA’s ability to collect the operational data” on RPAs needed for integration into the National Airspace System, North Dakota officials note.