Northeast UAS Airspace Integration Research Alliance

Leading the research and deployment technologies
for safe UAS operations in the nation's airspace.

Breaking New Ground Between Man and Machine

September 15, 2015

Aurora Flight Sciences made history over Central New York this summer flying multiple unmanned flights of its Centaur optionally piloted aircraft (OPA) from Griffiss International Airport in Rome. The successful test flights were conducted in collaboration and compliance with the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Test Site located at Griffiss and managed by the Northeast UAS Airspace Integration Research (NUAIR) Alliance, a CenterState CEO affiliate. This milestone was the first time any large-scale fixed wing aircraft has flown at any of the six FAA designated unmanned aircraft test sites in the U.S.

This month Aurora, a leader in the development and manufacturing of advanced unmanned systems and aerospace vehicles, returns to Griffiss to continue testing based on past accomplishments. 

“This aircraft is coming into high demand from a range of customers in the U.S. and abroad,” said Dr. John S. Langford, chairman and CEO of Aurora. “The flights conducted at the Griffiss site enable our company to offer customers an aircraft that has been at the leading edge of efforts to integrate unmanned aircraft into the U.S. national airspace.”

OPA systems are able to fly with or without a human crew on-board. OPA aircraft are a low-cost UAS alternative that is unrestricted by human limitations, can operate under adverse conditions and have greater endurance. Conversion to the unmanned flight mode provides flexibility for many applications and enables access to airports without large transport aircraft.