The Kansas Department of Transportation announced the addition of UPS Flight Forward (UPSFF), Vigilent and Lemasters Group Consulting Services as the newest members of the Kansas Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Integration Pilot Program (IPP) during Aviation Day at the Capitol on March 12.
“UPS Flight Forward has a very positive relationship with KDOT Aviation, and we look forward to contributing decades of flight risk management expertise toward achieving their strategic objectives. We also believe Kansas’ culture of innovation is fertile ground for fresh growth in the aviation industry that will advance our vision for future UAS delivery solutions,” said Myron Wright, President of UPS Flight Forward.
UPSFF, Vigilent and Lemasters Group’s new ventures in Kansas will join a population of over 700 Kansas companies that produce $20.6 billion state economic impact from aviation.
“We are thrilled to have KDOT’s Aviation program work together with these industry-leading organizations and consider these new partnerships key to unlocking the potential of UAS in way that ensures flight safety and protects personal privacy,” said Kansas Secretary Julie Lorenz.
The Kansas UAS IPP team has achieved a number of firsts in aviation – the first UAS inspection of an international airport, the first statewide unmanned traffic management system and the first UAS flight beyond-line-of-sight without ground radar, among others. KDOT Aviation leads this effort and represents 34 industry, university and state agency partners working together to advance economic development through transportation technologies that either make money, save money or save lives.
KDOT Partners with Tech Companies to Grow Kansas Aviation
On Jan. 6, FAA released its final version of a rule for testing supersonic aircraft over land. While it does not legalize regular supersonic flights, it does permit testing such aircraft at Mach 1. In December, the FAA and Kansas Department of Transportation announced an agreement under which KDOT will establish a flight corridor for testing civil supersonic aircraft. The Kansas Supersonic Transportation Corridor is planned as a racetrack-shaped route 770 nm long at FL 390 (39,000 ft.) in low-volume airspace near the Kansas-Oklahoma border. New flight procedures for that airspace have been developed by FAA and Lemasters Group Consulting.
The Kansas Department of Transportation’s Division of Aviation completed a field exercise recently in Rossville to demonstrate the capabilities of drones being used for infrastructure inspections and disaster response.
Bridge inspectors, public safety officials, universities and UAS manufacturers worked side-by-side with KDOT team members on this exercise. The Capabilities Exercise, or CAPEX, showed how drones can –
save time and money on transportation infrastructure inspections;
allow state agencies to examine disaster sites in emergency response situations;
and expand economic opportunities through transportation using innovative technologies.
“Safety is our top priority and we seek every opportunity to employ better transportation solutions for citizens across our state,” said Kansas Transportation Secretary Julie Lorenz.
In October 2017, KDOT was selected as one of nine participants in the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Integration Pilot Program, a three-year program that concluded Oct. 25.
KDOT demonstrates disaster response using drones
Agency continues efforts in national UAS program called BEYOND
The Kansas Department of Transportation signed an agreement with the FAA to establish a Kansas Supersonic Transportation Corridor (SSTC) that would be used for testing aircraft up to Mach 3, the state announced today.
The agreement would provide a critical testing site for the emerging group of supersonic aircraft as civil supersonic flight remains banned over land. Flight testing for models such as Aerion’s AS2 and Boom’s Overture is expected this decade, while NASA noise trials with the Lockheed Martin X-59 demonstrator are anticipated by 2024. “This year marks 73 years since Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier, and with this supersonic flight corridor Kansas will have a unique role in the next generation of supersonic transportation,” said Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kansas) in the announcement of the agreement.