U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp today announced that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has granted a two-year authorization for the Northern Plains UAS Test Site to fly large unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) beyond visual line of sight.
Heitkamp, a member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, pushed the FAA to approve the two-year Certificate of Authorization to help advance UAS technology to keep the nation safe and strengthen North Dakota’s role in the development of UAS research, training, and innovation.
U.S. Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson will travel to North Dakota next week to witness the groundbreaking beyond visual line of sight flight to be conducted from Grand Sky aviation park.
“Beyond line of sight UAS operation will propel even greater innovation at Grand Sky,” Heitkamp said. “As I’ve worked to advance North Dakota’s civilian and military UAS research and development, I’ve pushed the FAA to take steps like this one that will help protect national security and develop technologies to keep our borders secure, prevent the trafficking of drugs, and protect against acts of terrorism. Grand Sky is on the cutting edge of UAS development, and this authorization will allow our world-class aviation pioneers to continue to advance the technology that has a big future for both commercial and national security purposes.”