FAA Linking with Choctaw Nation to Study Low Altitude Cargo Delivery by Unmanned Aircraft Systems

Ken Zino of AutoInformed.com on the Choctaw Nation to study with the FAA Unmanned Aircraft Systems Cargo Transport

Choctaw Nation was the first tribal government seen  by the FAA as a Public Aircraft Operator.

The FAA’s Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center signed a three-year Memorandum of Understanding with the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma today. It is partnering with the Choctaw Nation to study how Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) can best transport cargo, including parcels, at lower altitudes. This allows the Monroney Aeronautical Center to work with the Choctaw Nation to study human factors, supply chain management and air traffic control.

The parties will use virtual simulated urban environments for research. Another aim of the MOU is to promote interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics programs for students seeking possible careers in aerospace.

“The MMAC plays a critical role in ensuring the safety of aviation operations in our nation, and we are excited to establish formal ties between our organizations to jointly support the development and safe integration of emerging aviation technologies into our national airspace system,” said James L Grimsley, Executive Director of Advanced Technology Initiatives with the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.

Choctaw Nation is the only tribal government selected by the U. S. Department of Transportation to participate in the Unmanned Aerial System Integration Pilot Program. It was one of 9 active pilot sites in the United States selected to work in collaboration with the FAA and industry to conduct advanced UAS operations.

The Nation also was the first tribal government to be recognized by the FAA as a Public Aircraft Operator. It was the only lead participant to work with the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center on acoustics testing for Unmanned Aircraft Systems used in agriculture, remote infrastructure inspections, public safety and other areas.

More than 6,300 employees, contractors and students work at the FAA’s aeronautical center, which is located on the west side of Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City. The center touches every aspect of the nation’s airspace by providing training, supply chain management, medical/educational human factors research and the national registration database of all U.S.-registered aircraft and pilots. It also offers financial management and acquisition services for a wide array of federal agencies.

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