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Drone-Detection System Being Tested at JFK Airport

Over the last couple of years, the FAA has received dozens of reports from pilots and residents about unmanned aircraft or drones flying around some of the nation’s busiest airports, including John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in New York.

In response to this, the FAA and its government partners are joining forces to evaluate drone-detection technology.
“We face many difficult challenges as we integrate rapidly evolving UAS technology into our complex and highly regulated airspace,” says Marke Gibson, FAA senior adviser on UAS integration. “This effort at JFK reflects everyone’s commitment to safety.”

On May 2, the FAA began evaluations at JFK to study the effectiveness of an FBI UAS-detection system. Five rotary and fixed-wing UAS (unmanned aircraft systems) were part of the evaluations with approximately 40 separate tests taking place. The tests expanded on research performed earlier this year at Atlantic City International Airport.
In addition to the FAA and the FBI, other agencies involved included the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Department of Justice, Queens District Attorney’s Office, and the Port Authorities of New York and New Jersey. DHS and the FBI want to identify unauthorized UAS operators for law enforcement purposes. The FAA’s mission is to provide a safe and efficient airport environment for both manned and unmanned air traffic.
“We applaud the FBI and FAA for their efforts to detect and track unmanned aerial systems,” says Thomas Bosco, Port Authority aviation director.  “We look forward to supporting continued U.S. government efforts to identify and deploy countermeasures to neutralize the threat posed by rogue UAS.”
As one of six FAA-designated UAS test sites, the Griffiss International Airport test site in Rome, New York, also provided expertise in evaluating the FBI’s detection system. It helped in planning the individual tests as well as the flight commander for the tests and two of the UAS.
The 2016 Appropriations Act mandates that the FAA continue to research the detection of UAS in airport environments. The agency is also continuing to formulate an interagency strategy to evaluate detection systems in a variety of airport environments.

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