RENO, NEV.—NASA and the FAA continue to run tests on Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (aka drones) during multiple operational scenarios. On May 25 at the Nevada UAS Test Site, five NASA Unmanned Aircraft System Traffic Management (UTM) missions took place to demonstrate multiple operational scenarios, including parachute initiated emergency supply deliveries and aerial survey operations. UAVs were also flown beyond the pilot’s line of sight using visual observers, Command and control, communication, detect and avoid technologies.
These UTM tests are part of NASA’s three-week Technology Capability Level 2 (TCL 2) National Campaign, which began May 9. The focus of the campaign is to fly small drones beyond the pilot’s visual line of sight over sparsely populated areas near six FAA Test Sites.
During this most recent test, UAS traffic mapping, sensor and radar technology were also tested through a connection to a NASA UAS Service Supplier network to NASA Ames.
“For the Nevada NASA Team, we flew the longest multi-faceted NASA UTM flights to date in Nevada,” said Chris Walach, director of the FAA-designated Nevada UAS Test Site. “The beyond line of sight missions we completed at over a distance of 13 miles north of Reno, Nevada and the multiple aerial parachute package delivery missions performed were a first in the National Airspace System under the NASA UTM… The National Campaign data provided to NASA from our two-week operation will go a long way toward advancing the UTM for the FAA and the UAS industry.”
The TCL 1 campaign took place in April of 2016. Two more phases, TCL 3 and TCL 4, will increase complexity and fly over more populated areas and are scheduled to take place in 2018 and beyond.