CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – One month after Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi received the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) test site designation, the FAA visited the University’s Lone Star Unmanned Aircraft Systems Center (LSUASC) on Thursday, Jan. 30, and Friday, Jan. 31, for a FAA post-award conference at the Coastal Bend Business Innovation Center (CBBIC).
The FAA met the LSUASC team and discussed the scope of Texas A&M-Corpus Christi’s test site. The group discussed test ranges, and environmental and outreach plans.
“You have a great and highly capable team,” said John McCarron, FAA UAS Integration Office Program Manager. “We're looking forward to this great opportunity to partner and collaborate towards furthering integration of UAS in the national air space.”
The LSUASC has been designated as a research center affiliated with the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) by the Texas A&M System Board of Regents. A&M-Corpus Christi and TEES collaborated with private-sector partner Camber Corporation and other research institutions and private-sector companies to form the statewide team that produced the proposal accepted by the FAA. A&M-Corpus Christi is also collaborating with the top engineering, research and technology experts in the state including those at the University of Texas at Arlington Research Institute and the Southwest Research Institute (SWRI) in San Antonio.
The FAA’s announcement was made Dec. 30 naming Texas as one of six test sites for UAS. In all, 24 states had applied for the designation. The University test site will be fully operational within six months. In preparation for this, LSUASC opened the UAS Command and Control Center at the CBBIC in October that will manage the 11 Texas test ranges.
This historic decision will have huge financial implications for the entire state of Texas, especially South Texas. Much of the expected economic benefit will center on the Coastal Bend.
The Association of Unmanned Vehicles International published an economic impact study in March projecting, once airspace is opened to UAS, the economic impact would be about $8 billion statewide, and $260 million in South Texas over the next 10 years; creating about 1,200 jobs. For more information, click HERE.