FARGO – In passing its version of the FAA Reauthorization bill Thursday, the U.S. Senate approved an amendment offered by North Dakota’s delegation that could help increase military operations in the state.
Democrat Kent Conrad and Republican John Hoeven previously introduced a provision in the bill that would authorize the FAA to coordinate with the military and develop shared airspace between Unmanned Aerial Systems and civilian aircraft.
The amendment also called on the FAA to develop national certification and flight standards for UAS and establish six test sites and training centers nationwide.
The House is slated to take up its legislation in March. If passed there, a conference committee of House and Senate members would have to hash out the details – including this provision – before the bill would become law.
Since North Dakota is already well-known as a location for UAS operations and training, the congressional delegation said they hope that at least one of the test sites established by the bill would be located in the state.
The Senate’s FAA Reauthorization bill passed overwhelmingly, 87-8, in a final vote Thursday evening. Conrad and Hoeven said getting the amendment approved in the bill was “a big win for North Dakota.”
They said their amendment “will further boost North Dakota’s potential to be a national hub for UAS training and operation.”