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University UAV Research Flights at the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS)

Project: Tec Talk

Topics: Aerodynamics

In 2007, the FAA released a Policy Statement that limited the operation of drone aircraft in the United States by commercial entities and this affected the testing of UAV’s by university researchers. Federal facilities with restricted air space already had internal policies for the use of drone aircraft and in southern Nevada, the NNSS (Nevada National Security Site) provided our research team at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, with the opportunity to fly aircraft within their airspace. The NNSS, formally known as the Nevada Test Site, is well known as the nation's major testing facility for above-ground and below-ground testing of nuclear weapons. Our testing campaign at the NNSS underwent safety reviews under both the U.S. Air Force and the NNSS and the staff at the NNSS provided excellent support for our research on the testing of novel UAV platforms powered by a Diesel engine capable of burning conventional military jet fuel. The testing campaign and the experience in working with the administration and support people at the NNSS will be highlighted in this talk.

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