The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has approved the request of the OH/IN UAS Center (UASC) for a Section 333 exemption under the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012.
“The FAA has been a great partner,” says David Gallagher with the UAS Center, “and this is a positive step forward in allowing the UASC to support state agencies with this new technology.”
The 333 exemption allows the UASC to use unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) to conduct various activities: precision agriculture; education, environmental, wildlife and forestry monitoring; infrastructure inspection; survey and mapping; and research and development. The UASC will use state-owned UAS that weigh less than 10 pounds to conduct the operations.
In addition to the Section 333 exemption, the FAA approved five more Certificates of Authorization (COA) for the UASC.
- Two of the COAs allow the UASC to conduct research and development projects using a UAS. On the first project, the UASC along with the University of Akron will collect and evaluate data detailing the mapping of native and invasive plant life in the Panzer Wetlands area of Akron, Ohio. For the second project, the UASC will work with the University of Cincinnati, researching UAS platform and sensor development to assist emergency responders in the prediction and mitigation of forest fires. This research project will take place at the Wilmington Airpark in Wilmington, Ohio.
- Two COAs will support the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT). One COA authorizes the training of ODOT pilots, visual observers and sensor operators in an area near Deer Creek State Park. The second COA allows ODOT to assess erosion of a hill side in southern Ohio to determine the possibility of falling rocks onto a major highway.
- Another COA authorizes UAS training at the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy near London, Ohio, where state peace officers will begin flying to assess UAS technology for traffic accident investigations and to promote safety.
“UAS technology has the potential to help aid in everything from making our roads and bridges safer, to increasing crop yields for our farmers, to protecting our parks and overall promoting a healthier environment for our state,” Gallagher says.
The UASC is also working with 14 colleges and universities in research and development projects across the state that will help mature UAS technologies.
About the OH/IN UAS Center
The OH/IN UAS Center (UASC) is a joint venture between the states of Ohio and Indiana. The overall mission of the UAS Center is to advance UAS commercialization and support flight operations for government and agencies. It offers a mix of services, and a variety of test ranges and capabilities to support research, development, testing and evaluation of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) technologies for businesses, government and academia. The activities are meant to enhance economic development and place Ohio in a leadership role as the FAA prepares to integrate UAS in to the National Airspace System.