Environmental Science Division (EVS)a Division of Argonne National Laboratory

Unmanned aircraft takes first flight

November 1, 2016

Argonne's small Unmanned Aircraft System (sUAS) program recently received Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) authorization to operate on Argonne's campus and successfully completed its first mission — a flight for Argonne's Facilities Management and Services division to inspect water towers onsite at Argonne.

Because the aircraft are used for research, FAA regulations require Argonne to obtain permission to fly them on the campus. Argonne has two FAA certificates of authorization: one for three fixed-wing models and another for two copter models. According to project lead David Gartman (EVS), the application process took 18 months to complete.

FAA and U.S. Department of Energy rules stipulate that Argonne's sUAS operators be licensed pilots; flights also require a trained visual observer for safety and to help keep the aircraft — literally — within sight. Fortunately, there are a number of pilots in the Argonne population, including EVS staff Roberto Herrera and Andrew Orr, who are part of the sUAS group.

Future applications for the aircraft are flexible and will depend on the science needs.

Read the full article on Argonne Today.

[Source: Argonne National Laboratory]
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portrait of David Gartman