On May 8 the FAA awarded NJIT university a Certificate of Waiver/Authorization (COA), making it the first New Jersey university and first public institution in state granted permission to test the UAS. NJIT will use the airstrip on the U.S. Coast Guard Training Center in Cape May to test the systems.
“This (COA) process was a learning experience for me and NJIT,” said Chumer, director of the Crisis Communication Center and of UAS Applied Research at NJIT. “As we proceeded through the application, we learned a lot about what data is required to safely integrate UAS technology within the National Airspace.”
NJIT will work closely with the State of New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness as well as the State Office of Emergency Management to develop UAS capabilities. It will also aim to weave that capability into the state’s emergency response operations.
NJIT is a partner in the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership (MAAP), housed at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, which last year was designated one of six test sites authorized to develop procedures to ensure the safe integration of the UAS into the National Airspace.
The university plans to begin testing under its COA in the summer of 2014 and be prepared to assist New Jersey in bringing UAS emergency management capabilities to bear during the hurricane season. In addition, as part of the Test Site MAAP team, NJIT plans to collect operational data required by the FAA on the specific UAS that will be flown in Cape May.
“The testing, evaluation, and applied research that NJIT plans to accomplish will be integrated into nation’s overall Test Site Research plan,” said Chumer. “The UAS has the potential to strengthen our nation in myriad ways and we at NJIT will call upon our considerable technical skills to hasten this process along.”