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50-Mile Drone Driveway Receives First Approval from FAA

The Federal Aviation Administration approved the first segment of a New York state drone corridor that will allow companies to fly drones “without the need for chase planes” or human supervision.

(TNS) — The Federal Aviation Administration has approved the first segment of a 50-mile drone corridor between Syracuse and Rome, New York.

The approval allows drones to fly beyond visual line of sight within an 8-by-4-mile section of airspace between Griffiss International Airport and the New York State Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services’ State Preparedness Training Center in Oriskany.

State officials said they expect the approval to open the door to FAA approval of additional sections of the 50-miles corridor in 2020.

The approval is important because it allows companies developing unmanned aerial vehicles and associated technologies to fly drones within the corridor without the need for chase planes or observers on the ground to constantly watch over them.

“This federal designation is an incredible milestone for New York State and will ensure that Central New York and the Mohawk Valley regions remain the global hub for unmanned aircraft system advancement and integration for generations to come,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

Current FAA drone regulations require operators to keep their drones in line of sight unless they have approval from the FAA. The Northeast UAS Airspace Integration Research alliance (Nuair) and the New York UAS Test Site based at Griffiss have conducted more than 2,500 test flights since 2015, but they have required multiple people in the field to watch over the aircraft.

“The ability to fly with this new authority will help develop and advance many aspects of an air traffic management system for unmanned aircraft," said Nuair CEO Michael Hertzendorf.

State officials said it took 14 months to get the FAA’s approval for the first segment of the corridor. The corridor is utilizing a network of radars and sensors to track drones during their flights.

©2019 Syracuse Media Group, N.Y.. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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