Senators Propose UAV Test Site Provision in FAA Bill

Schumer and Wyden seek a provision expanding unmanned drone testing.
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Two U.S. senators propose amending the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization bill to include a provision expanding unmanned drone testing, which might funnel millions of dollars in high-tech investment to at least one of the lawmakers’ states and thereby create jobs.

Sens. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and Ron Wyden, D-Ore, introduced the amendment to the proposed FAA Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Act (S. 223) to increase the number of “National Airspace System” test sites for “unmanned aerial vehicles” (UAV) from four to 10, and require that at least one of those test sites include a significant portion of public land.

In a written statement, Schumer says, Hancock Field—an airfield in Syracuse, N.Y. that is home to the Air National Guard’s 174th Fighter Wing—“is ideally positioned to be named a (UAV) test site because of its attractive air space and concentration of related high-tech firms.”

“The Central New York region has two restricted areas, four seasons, a varied terrain, an over water range, air to ground gunnery capability and large airspace volume- all key ingredients to being chosen as a test site,” says Schumer, who adds the Senate is currently debating the FAA reauthorization bill. The bill funds the FAA and sets travel policy for the entire country, according to Schumer. The bill is likely to be voted on in the next few weeks and has consistently received bipartisan support, he says.

Aerial “drones are more important than ever to our troops overseas, our cops walking the beat and our border patrol agents keeping drugs off our streets, not to mention accurate mapping and more,” Schumer said. “Getting this amendment signed into law and designating Hancock as one of the sites will bring jobs and millions in investment to Central New York, all while increasing security across our northern border. I’m confident we’ll see this amendment pass and I’m committed to working in overdrive to ensure Hancock is chosen as a test site.”