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FAA Clears New York Drone Corridor for Sightless Flights

The Federal Aviation Administration has approved the unsupervised flight of drones within the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Test Site airspace, otherwise known as the New York Drone Corridor.

Last week the Federal Aviation Administration approved New York’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems Test Site (NUAIR) to fly uncrewed drones without supervision across 50 miles of airspace within the state’s drone corridor.

In essence, this means that an uncrewed aircraft systems corridor operator can fly civilian drones from Syracuse International Airport to Griffiss International Airport in Rome, N.Y., without the need for “visual observers,” according to a statement from Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office.

The state first started working with drones in 2016 after investing over $35 million to develop a 50-mile UAS traffic management system.

Since then, it has invested upward of $50 million into drone technology, including a recent investment of $21 million in CNY Rising Upstate Revitalization Initiative funding to cultivate a UAS (unmanned aircraft system) industry hub along the corridor in Central New York and Mohawk Valley.

According to Hochul’s office, the additional funds will go toward critical infrastructure for advanced industry applications, state agency adoption of UAS and associated workforce development.

Also announced by the governor’s office, a new partnership between New York’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems Test Site and Quebec-based VPorts to develop an international “Advanced Air Mobility Corridor” between Syracuse International Airport and Quebec, Canada.

Once completed, the corridor will provide a platform for full commercial-cargo transport operations using electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft or large, helicopter-sized drones.

“New York’s state-of-the-art drone corridor further cements the state’s position as the global leader in this evolving market for cutting-edge drone technology,” Hochul said in a release. “Through our continued investment and focus on drone corridor operations, we are strengthening and growing the regional economies in Central New York, the Mohawk Valley and statewide for generations to come.”