Through the FAA-issued Certificates of Waiver or Authorization, the team can operate two types of UAS within an 8,000-square-mile airspace in the San Luis Valley to heights up to 15,000 feet.
Leach Airport in Center will be the primary operations hub for UAS testing in the valley, with participation by a number of other local airports, according to Jason Kelly, Alamosa County attorney.
The FAA has approved a 120-lb. vertical takeoff aircraft, the Reference Technologies Hummingbird, and a smaller, battery-powered UAS that is being developed by Black Swift Technologies and Swift Engineering and can be hand-launched with a payload of up to 8 lbs.
Talk about a quantum leap – from 400′ to 15,000′ is a big jump. If you’re wondering, San Luis is just north of the Colorado/New Mexico line. It is about 4 hours by car south of Denver.