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Northern Plains UAS Test Site

 

Northern Plains Test Site

North Dakota was chosen as a Federal Aviation Administration UAS Test Site - officially known as the Northern Plains UAS Test Site. The FAA identified six (6) test sites in December 2013.

The test sites will conduct crucial research to determine how to safely integrate UAS into the national airspace. The Northern Plains UAS Test Site was the first FAA test site to conduct flights, launching its first research flight in early May 2014.

The Northern Plains UAS Test Site is headquartered in Grand Forks, ND. It currently uses several UAS Test Ranges which are various airspaces the FAA grants for UAS research and development through Certificates of Waiver or Authorization (COAs). These airspaces surround the Grand Forks area and are generally within about 120 miles. More COAs will be obtained as the research needs develop.

North Dakota plays a critical role in determining how to safely integrate UAS into the national airspace, and the Northern Plains UAS Test Site serves as an opportunity to enhance North Dakota’s leadership position in the industry.
 


 
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North Dakota's strong UAS team and the state's many competitive advantages make it an ideal location to host a FAA UAS test site.

Standing Ready to Advance UAS

North Dakota has invested over $19 million to advance UAS research and development and is collaborating with organizations statewide to build this emerging industry.
 

Northern Plains Unmanned Systems Authority

North Dakota has created the Northern Plains Unmanned Systems Authority, a six-member commission assembled to help advance North Dakota's UAS opportunities and to provide oversight for the Northern Plains UAS Test Site. The authority is chaired by Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley and includes representatives from the state's general aviation industry, University of North Dakota Aerospace, North Dakota Aeronautics Commission, North Dakota Department of Commerce and the Office of the Adjutant General.

 
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Robert Becklund
Robert J. Becklund is the Executive Director of the Northern Plains Unmanned Aircraft Systems Test Site, an organization designated by the Federal Aviation Administration to conduct critical research related to technologies, training and certification standards and operational procedures necessary to safely integrate UAS into the national airspace system.

Mr. Becklund also serves as the Chief of Staff for Air, Joint Force Headquarters, in the North Dakota National Guard recently returning from duty on the United States Air
Force’s Remotely Piloted Aircraft Task Force in the Pentagon.



 

UAS Test Site Designation

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North Dakota is one of six FAA designated UAS Test Sites for introducing UAS into the national airspace.

 

North Dakota has been chosen as a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) UAS Test Site. The FAA is considered proposals from a number of states, and identified six (6) test sites in December 2013. The test sites will conduct crucial research to determine how best to safely integrate UAS into the national airspace.

North Dakota's strong UAS team and the state's many advantages made North Dakota an ideal location to host an FAA UAS Test Site.

Private businesses on the leading edge of the UAS industry will find the following advantages in North Dakota.
 

  • UAS industry support among state and local government, industry, academia and general aviation.
  • Existing manned and unmanned aviation best practices.
  • Experience obtaining FAA Certificates of Authorization.
  • History and culture of aviation safety.
  • Uncongested airspace.
  • Climate diversity.
  • Open terrain.
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