GE Aerospace, FAA, to study how to integrate UAVs into U.S. national air space

WASHINGTON, 11 Aug. 2009. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in Washington is joining hands with GE Aviation in Grand Rapids, Mich., to use flight simulation and other research tools to study how to enable manned and unmanned aircraft to share commercial airspace.

WASHINGTON, 11 Aug. 2009. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in Washington is joining hands with GE Aviation in Grand Rapids, Mich., to use flight simulation and other research tools to study how to enable manned and unmanned aircraft to share commercial airspace.

GE Aviation and the FAA have entered into a cooperative research and development agreement (CRDA) to assess ways to integrate unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) into the National Airspace System (NAS) -- including using next generation trajectory-based operations.

Next generation air traffic control, often referred to as NextGen, will enable commercial aircraft operating under instrument flight rules to fly directly to their destinations, rather than jagged routes along so-called victor airways that use ground-based VHF omni-range (VOR) radio beacons to guide aircraft safely to their destinations.

GE Aviation and the FAA will conduct research "to facilitate flight of unmanned aerial systems with an FAA certified, trajectory-based flight management system," says Chris Beaufait, president of avionics for GE Aviation. "Safe integration of UAS into our national air space will include trajectory-based flight management as an enabler. This CRDA directly supports development of the FAA NextGen Air Traffic Management System."

Simulations will be conducted at the FAA's William J. Hughes Technical Center beginning this fall and will continue for two years. GE Aviation's participation will include adapting its FAA certified flight management system to achieve reliable trajectory-based control of unmanned aerial vehicles including demonstration flights of an AAI Shadow tactical unmanned aircraft system in 2009.

For more information contact GE Aviation online at www.geaviation.com.

More in Defense Executive