The FAA’s UAS Integration Pilot Program was busy in four states during August 2018.
“Data gathered from these pilot projects will form the basis of a new regulatory framework to safely integrate drones into our national airspace,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao at the May 9 announcement of the 10 entities selected to participate in the program.
“We’re working with state, local, and tribal governments and private industry to demonstrate and study expanded drone operations,” said Acting FAA Administrator Dan Elwell. “This program gives us a better understanding of how operations over people, beyond visual line of sight ops, and flying drones at night work at the local level.”
Successful flights in North Carolina, Virginia, Kansas and Oklahoma demonstrate how those selected for the program are using drones in innovative ways to assist in their communities in their day-to-day duties.
On Aug. 29, WakeMed Health and Hospitals successfully flew a Matternet drone in Raleigh, N.C., to demonstrate how drones can be used to deliver medical supplies to rural areas.
In other flights, the Virginia Tech Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership and the FAA teamed up to successfully complete the country’s first long-distance drone delivery test (see video below).
The Kansas Department of Transportation and the FAA flew a drone beyond visual sight, a giant step towards advancing drone technology to help precision agriculture and infrastructure inspections, according to FAA officials.
In Oklahoma, the Choctaw Nation and the FAA demonstrated how drones can be used to bait feral hog traps.