The first formal step in designating the sites is the issuance of a Screening Information Request (SIR). The SIR, referred to in other Government agencies as a Request for Proposal, or RFP, is the vehicle through which the FAA will request interested parties (Applicants) to submit specific information for evaluation. This SIR (and any future changes, if any) will be available on the FAA Contract Opportunities Web Site (http://faaco.faa.gov). Additional information about the SIR process including the time critical schedule (Table 1) should be reviewed immediately by Applicants. One parameter of note is that all Test Site Operators (the awardees) MUST BE NON-FEDERAL PUBLIC ENTITIES.
On February 14, 2012, the President signed the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (FMRA) into law. The FMRA includes requirements for integrating unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) into the national airspace system (NAS), including direction for the FAA to “establish a program to integrate unmanned aircraft systems into the national airspace system at six (6) test ranges.”
In March 2012, in an effort to solicit and capture the public perspective and opinion on the UAS Test Ranges (Sites), the FAA began an outreach campaign. The FAA posted a Request for Comment (RFC) in the Federal Register [Docket No. FAA—2012—0252] regarding the six Test Sites, and in April 2012, the FAA hosted two public webinars to facilitate direct public interaction. This outreach effort assisted FAA in developing the strategy for designating the sites.
The first formal step in designating the sites is the issuance of a…
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