Congressmembers sign letter of support for Cal UAS, San Diego

In a show of support, five members of Congress from San Diego and Imperial Counties signed a letter on Thursday supporting an Inyokern-led effort to secure a unmanned aircraft systems test site designation from the Federal Aviation Administration.

The information began with a release from a tweet from a California state senator.

“Congrats to @CaliforniaUAS! (The) Entire San Diego/Imperial County House delegation signed a support letter for official FAA UAS/UAV test site,” Sen. Jean Fuller (R — Bakersfield) said via Twitter on Thursday.

California Unmanned Aircraft Systems Portol
confirmed Fuller’s statement Thursday night with the support letter itself.

Representatives Darrell Issa, Scott Peters, Juan Vargas, Susan Davis and Duncan Hunter announced their support of Cal UASand its partners in Inyokern in a letter to U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and James Williams, the FAA manager for UAS flight standards.

“San Diego is a center of aerospace technology, and the region meets and/or exceeds the criteria put forth by the FAA for a UAS/UAV test site,” the joint letter states.

The five federal lawmakers stated that the area that Cal UAS Portal has mapped out as its proposed range of operations “spans a diverse geography and climate conditions, which is vital to compiling a robust body of data to guide decisions on how to integrate UAS into the National Airspace System (NAS).” That area includes desert and mountain terrain to maritime environment close to San Diego.

Eileen Shibley, leader of the Cal UAS Portal team, called the support welcome news.

“The Cal UAS Team is so excited about this showing of support from the San Diego and Imperial Counties Representatives,” Shibley said by email Thursday night. “It’s a full showing of their support of Cal UAS and is signed by every one of their Congressional Representatives.”

Shibley said that in addition to the Congressional support, Cal UAS has also received the support of the San Diego Lindbergh Chapter of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI). The AUVSI is the world’s largest organization advocating and advancing the commercial use of unmanned systems.

The San Diego-area lawmakers are the latest to throw their support behind Cal UAS and its partners. House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R — Bakersfield) has long backed Inyokern, as have Fuller and Assemblywoman Shannon Grove (R — Bakersfield).

Cal UAS Portal is only one in 25 potential teams in 24 states vying for one of six test site designations that the FAA will name by December.

The test sites is an initial step in the FAA’s directive to integrate unmanned aerial vehicles into the national airspace by the end of 2015, a task handed down to them by Congress in 2012. A test site designation would reduce the onerous requirements the FAA places on operating unmanned systems.


Cal UAS Operating Area
The largest contiguous block of restricted airspace in America, with over 12.8 million acres for UAV testing.

Support and endorsement for Cal UAS

Sunday, October 13th, 2013

I am very much a supporter of Cal UAS, and you have my full endorsement.

– John Papa, UNIX Engineer

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

Inyokern is without a doubt the best place for unmanned systems work. The area has the right combination of entrepreneurial spirit and technical know-how to be the centerpiece of this growing field.

Nathan Ahle

Saturday, October 26th, 2013

Congrats to CaliforniaUAS! The Entire San Diego/Imperial County House delegation signed a support letter for official FAA UAS/UAV test site!

– Senator Jean Fuller

Monday, October 28th, 2013

The Indian Wells Valley has hosted a remarkably creative history for thousands of years. There’s a practical symbiosis between high technology and natural splendor here.
– J.P. Gorman, Metal Artist

Congressional Support letter:

letterhead congress

October 24, 2013

The Honorable Anthony Foxx

Secretary V.S. Department of Transportation 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE Washington, D.C. 20590

James Williams

Manager Federal Aviation Administration

Flight Standards Service Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Office

490 L’Enfant Plaza, Suite 3200 Washington, D.C. 20024

RE: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Designated Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) and Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Test Site Application

Dear Secretary Foxx and Mr. Williams:

We are writing to express our full support for a FAA designated UASIUAV Test Site application from the Indian Wells Valley Airport District and its coalition of partners including the San Diego regional Economic Development Corporation, the San Diego Military Advisory Council, ad the San Diego North Chamber of Commerce. San Diego is a center of aerospace and the region meets and/or exceeds the criteria put forth by the FAA for a UAS/UAV test site.

The proposed operating area spans a diverse geography and climate conditions, which is vital to compiling a robust body of data to guide decisions on how to integrate UAS into the National Airspace. The area consists of a variety of terrain from desert to offshore islands, temperature extremes, and a range of moisture conditions to simulate environmental conditions throughout the United States. [i.e. San Diego back country.]

The San Diego region is home to one of the most active UAS/UAV industries in the United States two of the largest manufacturers of DAS in the world are headquartered in the region, supported by many other companies in the supply chain. Small businesses related to UAS are flourishing. San Diego has not only the necessary ground infrastructure but also the human capital and research resources. Partnerships with academia are important to FAA’s ability to gather all the technical data needed. Our six major universities in the San Diego region are already taking steps to ensure they are providing the necessary research and education for the industry to thrive.

A recent study by the San Diego North Chamber of Commerce found that the VAS/VAV industries accounted for $1.3 billion of activity and 7,200 jobs in the region in 2011. By 2019, the activity will exceed $12 billion.

We ask that you give this proposal full and fair consideration. No doubt, the Indian Wells Valley Airport District proposal offers the expertise, experience, and innovation of the people and institutions of San Diego.

Sincerely,

Member of Congress 

SCOTT PETERS , SUSAN A. DAVIS, SCOTT PETERS DARRELL ISSA, DUNCAN HUNTER, JUAN VARGAS

~

Resources:

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