ITRE/NC State is committed to safe, managed integration of unmanned aircraft into the NAS as the proliferation of commercial and civilian systems grows. With more than 500 flights and 125 hours of UAS flight time since March of 2013, the ITRE Aviation research team has demonstrated a program that is robust enough to meet the FAA safety requirements, the expectations of the local airspace user community, and the information management requirements of the North Carolina State Chief Information Officer. The team currently manages 20 active Certificates of Authorization (COAs) with the FAA that support weekly flight operations.
Every one of the ITRE UAS flights is a data point in the research for evaluating the potential of broad UAS integration. The performance of the aircraft, the integrity of the airspace, the notification process for announcing activities, even the coordination with ground assets and participants are recorded for future analysis.
Currently the Aviation Team is approved to operate at 8 different locations across the state. Only specific aircraft are approved at each location. Those locations are:
- The NCSU Lake Wheeler Laboratory, Raleigh, NC
- The NCSU Butner Beef Cattle Lab, Bahama, NC
- Hyde County Airport, Engelhard, NC
- Constellis property, Moyock, NC
- The Green Swamp, Supply, NC
- The Vernon James Research Center, Plymouth, NC
- A construction project site in Waynesville, NC
- A mountain site in Haywood County, NC
The team is developing strategies for broad area operations in collaboration with FAA and state authorities for 2016 further expansion of flight activities.
Most flight operations are conducted using one of the following aircraft:
- Precision Hawk Lancaster
- Trimble UX5
- Leica/Aibotix X6
- Sentera Vireo
- Aerovironment Puma
The ITRE Flight Data Architecture is designed to capture both mission data (videos, images) and situational data (telemetry, weather, other aircraft reports, etc). We use the Flight Manager tool from Simulyze and the Mission Caster box from KSI Data Sciences to complete the data management architecture for capturing, storing, and analysis of UAS flight data.