photo of New Mexico State University - Las Cruces, NM
New Mexico State University – Las Cruces, NM

The new FAA authorization adds NMSU to the list of test ranges that can equally compete for federal projects.

U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., says his measure to solidify southern New Mexico’s position as a test center for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) has been signed into law as part of the FAA Extension, Safety, and Security Act of 2016.

According to the senator, New Mexico State University’s (NMSU) UAS Flight Test Center was the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) original UAS test center; it served as a model for the six other sites that were authorized by Congress in 2012.

“Putting New Mexico State University’s UAS Flight Test Center on equal footing with the six test sites across the country will help southern New Mexico retain its role as a leader in UAS technology innovation,” says Udall, a member of the Senate Commerce Committee.

Garrey Carruthers, chancellor of NMSU, says, “Putting NMSU’s UAS flight test center back on a level playing field with the six congressionally authorized flight test sites managed by the FAA will make NMSU more competitive and attractive to businesses and the federal government for research, development, testing
and evaluation.”

And then there were seven. Who knew that lovely little piece of pork was tucked into all that legislation. It’s a well-deserved win for the home team and the good folks
at NMSU.
Besides, there’s a reason New Mexico has such a long history in aviation – you can see forever and there’s not a whole lot to hit.



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