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Schumer touts Central New York, Fort Drum, Massachussetts combined bid for FAA drone test site

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U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., called on the Federal Aviation Administration to choose an application from Central New York-based Northeast UAS Airspace Integration Research Alliance, or NUAIR, as a part of its search for six sites to test unmanned aerial systems.

The test of integrating unmanned aircraft into the National Airspace System by 2015 was spurred by the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012.

The formal FAA application for the nonprofit NUAIR is being led by the CenterState Corporation for Economic Opportunity in New York and MassDevelopment in Massachusetts, and will be submitted by Griffiss International Airport.

NUAIR is an organization of more than 40 academic institutions and private and public entities from the two states.

Sen. Schumer voiced his support for the selection in a press release issued Monday afternoon, stating that it would benefit multiple parties in the state, including Fort Drum.

“Working with NUAIR, I’ll keep making the case to the FAA that Central New York and the north country are the ideal locations to lead the way on doing more unmanned aircraft systems research, for purposes like cracking down on cross-border drug smuggling, responding to natural disasters and aiding our local farmers and the agriculture industry,” he said in a statement included in the press release.

The press release states that if picked by the FAA, NUAIR’s team would put in place its five-year plan to transform UAS applications, conducting research and testing operations in restricted airspace across Upstate New York to begin the safe integration of the aircraft.

Sen. Schumer said in the press release that the application benefits from the proximity of New York Air National Guard’s 174th Attack Wing, the Air Force Research Laboratory in Rome and Fort Drum.

The senator also touted the economic impact of such a decision, including more than $800 million of economic impact to the combination of New York and Massachusetts, and more than 4,000 jobs over three years. The press release said the decision would also attract significant research investment to companies and universities in both states.

The FAA is scheduled to make a decision on sites by the end of the year.

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