Government Contracting & Aviation

Home/Government Contracting & Aviation

Biz Aviation Braces for Looming U.S. Government Shutdown

 – September 22, 2015, 10:28 AM

The aviation community is bracing for the prospect of another government shutdown as Congress remains deadlocked over Planned Parenthood funding. The U.S. government is funded through September 30, leaving Congress little time to clear appropriations for Fiscal Year 2016, which begins on October 1. House and Senate lawmakers have drafted a stopgap measure that would temporarily fund the government, but a dispute over whether to cut off Planned Parenthood funding is threatening progress on this measure.

NBAA told members it is monitoring developments closely given the potential for significant ramifications to the business aviation industry. When the government shut down in 2013, the FAA furloughed more than 15,000 employees and shuttered the aircraft registry in Oklahoma City. This halted all business aircraft transactions, title searches and other necessary activities for aircraft financing and sales. The move to close the registry was unprecedented, since it had remained open through previous shutdowns. NBAA warned that a similar situation could occur during this shutdown, should it occur.

A number of other aviation functions were affected during the 2013 shutdown, including ATC modernization efforts, aeromedical case reviews and import/export of aircraft. Further, a number of FAA safety inspectors were furloughed. Air traffic control functions, however, were deemed essential and continued operating.

Near Space Systems Test Flight of StarTower Aerostat

I had the chance today to visit Near Space System’s test flight facility just East of Colorado Springs. Gen Hawley, Near Space System’s CEO, invited us to watch a test flight of its StarTower aerostat. When we arrived the test crew had the aerostat flying at 500ft AGL in 20 knots of wind. The airfoil design aerostat was rock solid. The StarTower aerostat normal operating altitude is 2000ft AGL.

StarTower is designed to help commercial, state, and federal customers obtain satellite-like telecommunications and surveillance capabilities for a fraction of the cost of space-based systems. StarTower is a patented, high-performance aerostat that offers unmatched operational capability. Its unique design enables operations in winds up to 70 knots. StarTower provides line-of-sight range of 54 miles and a coverage area of 9,400 square miles for communications and sensor employment.

For more information on Near Space System or the StarTower Aerostat see:

2017-06-13T02:15:19-06:00 February 25th, 2014|Blog, Government Contracting & Aviation|

FAA Selects Unmanned Aircraft Systems Research and Test Sites

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today announced the selection of the six public entities that will develop unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) research and test sites around the country. These congressionally-mandated test sites will conduct critical research into the certification and operational requirements necessary to safely integrate UAS into the national airspace over the next several years.

Today, UAS perform border and port surveillance, help with scientific research and environmental monitoring, support public safety by law enforcement agencies, help state universities conduct research, and support various other missions for government entities.

In selecting the six test site operators, the FAA considered geography, climate, location of ground infrastructure, research needs, airspace use, safety, aviation experience and risk. In totality, these six test applications achieve cross-country geographic and climatic diversity and help the FAA meet its UAS research needs.

A brief description of the six test site operators and the research they will conduct into future UAS use are below:

University of Alaska. The University of Alaska proposal contained a diverse set of test site range locations in seven climatic zones as well as geographic diversity with test site range locations in Hawaii and Oregon. The research plan includes the development of a set of standards for unmanned aircraft categories, state monitoring and navigation. Alaska also plans to work on safety standards for UAS operations.

State of Nevada. Nevada’s project objectives concentrate on UAS standards and operations as well as operator standards and certification requirements. The applicant’s research will also include a concentrated look at how air traffic control procedures will evolve with the introduction of UAS into the civil environment and how these aircraft will be integrated with NextGen. Nevada’s selection contributes to geographic and climatic diversity.

New York’s Griffiss International Airport. Griffiss International plans to work on developing test and evaluation as well as verification and validation processes under FAA safety oversight. The applicant also plans to focus its research on sense and avoid capabilities for UAS and its sites will aid in researching the complexities of integrating UAS into the congested, northeast airspace.

North Dakota Department of Commerce. North Dakota plans to develop UAS airworthiness essential data and validate high reliability link technology. This applicant will also conduct human factors research. North Dakota’s application was the only one to offer a test range in the Temperate (continental) climate zone and included a variety of different airspace which will benefit multiple users.

Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi. Texas A&M plans to develop system safety requirements for UAS vehicles and operations with a goal of protocols and procedures for airworthiness testing. The selection of Texas A&M contributes to geographic and climactic diversity.

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech). Virginia Tech plans to conduct UAS failure mode testing and identify and evaluate operational and technical risks areas. This proposal includes test site range locations in both Virginia and New Jersey

2014-03-04T23:12:10-07:00 December 31st, 2013|Blog, Business Aircraft Industry News, Government Contracting & Aviation|