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FAA to select Center of Excellence for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) in FY 2015

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) plans to select competitively a Center of Excellence (COE) for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) in fiscal year 2015. The goal is to create a cost-sharing relationship between academia, industry, and government that will focus on research areas of primary interest to the FAA and the US unmanned aircraft systems community. The FAA Centers of Excellence Program Office, ANG-E4, is soliciting proposals from accredited institutions of higher education with their partners and affiliates.

The COE will perform research to assist the FAA and the UAS community to integrate unmanned aircraft into the NAS (National Airspace System). The FAA needs to identify and develop criteria and standards required for the civil certification and regulations of UAS pilots, equipment and operations. The research areas presented are examples of the challenges that the FAA needs to address to achieve safe, efficient, and timely UAS integration into the NAS.

(The Federal Aviation Act of 1958 established the FAA and made it responsible for the control and use of navigable airspace within the United States. The FAA created the National Airspace System (NAS) to protect persons and property on the ground, and to establish a safe and efficient airspace environment for civil, commercial, and military aviation. The NAS comprises a network of air navigation facilities; air traffic control (ATC) facilities; airports; technology; and appropriate rules and regulations that are needed to operate the system.)

The FAA expects the COE to perform short- and long-term basic and applied research through a variety of analyses, development, and prototyping activities.

The FAA has identified initial COE research areas of current interest which may evolve over time to adapt to the needs of the NAS

  • Air Traffic Control Interoperability
  • Airport Ground Operations
  • Control and Communication
  • Detect and Avoid (DAA)
  • Human Factors
  • Low Altitude Operations Safety
  • Noise Reduction
  • Spectrum Management
  • Unmanned Aircraft (UA) Crew Training and Certification, Including Pilots
  • Unmanned Aircraft Systems Traffic Management
  • UAS Wake Separation Standards for UAS Integration into the NAS


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