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Unmanned Aerial Systems

NMSU UAS Flight Test Site

NMSU/PSL is home to the one of the seven FAA approved UAS Test Sites which supports the integration of unmanned systems into the National Airspace System and specializes in unmanned systems flight testing for all classes of UAS. 

PSL has a long history with UAS and superior performance for the FAA.  We are an industry leader, and have key unique skills to support this work.  NMSU is one of the core universities in the FAA UAS Center for Excellence and we are members of the Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence (ASSURE Group).

As part of the FAA COE, PSL has supported work in the following areas:

  • Detect and Avoid (DAA) and Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS)
    • This research area focuses on issues related to the detection of potential threats to remain well clear and avoid collisions
    • System validation flights – Acoustic, Vision, Radar, and ADSB
  • Human Factors focused on Visual Observers and ground station design
  • Detection of UAS near airports – assessing current state of the art
  • Cyber security with UAS
  • Disaster Preparedness and Response
  • Minority STEM Outreach with UAS as the central learning platform for K-12 with UAS Roadshows and summer camps (developed UAS curricula for the FAA)

STEM Outreach

FAA STEM Outreach

Air Space & Facilities

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Air Space

The UAS FTS operates under an FAA Certificate of Authorization (CoA) that permits UAS flights in over 15,000 square miles of coordinated airspace in southwestern New Mexico.

  • Access to 10,000 sq/miles in NM up to 15,000 ft and higher
  • High altitude flight support to 60,000 ft and higher
  • 365 days of great test weather/yr
  • Access to additional Restricted Airspace (WSMR Call-up)
  • Access to Class G Airports throughout NM
  • Portable hangar and logistics support for remote operations
  • Access to Jornada Experimental Range (USDA)
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Facilities

  • 15,000 sq. ft. hangar at Las Cruces International Airport dedicated exclusively to UAS Operations
  • Propulsion Test Lab
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Fleet

  • Aerostar A and B
  • AggieLite
  • Orbiter
  • Quantum Trinity F90+
  • Multiple sUAS
  • Predator surrogate Chase aircraft  

UAS Platforms & Flight Support

Make Model Type Size Weight (max takeoff) Wingspan Endurance Payload Max Speed Max Altitude Airworthiness Status
DJI Phantom 3 Pro Multi- Copter sUAS 2.8 lbs 1 ft 20 min Camera Only 15 m/s Operation Dependant Part 107
3D Robotics Solo Multi- Copter sUAS 3.9 lbs 1.2 ft 15 mins Camera Only 15 m/s Operation Dependant Part 107

Quantum

Trinity F90+ VTOL/Fixed Wing sUAS 11 lbs 27 ft 90 mins

1.5 lbs

33 knts 14,800 ft. MSL/400 ft. AGL Part 107
BAT4

UAS

Fixed Wing Medium UAS 125 lbs 13 ft 8 hrs 20 lbs 30 knts 10,000 ft. MSL Public Airworthiness
Aeronautics LTD.

Aerostar B UAS 660

Fixed Wing Medium UAS 485 lbs 24.6 ft 10 hrs 110 lbs 70 knts 18,000 ft. MSL Public Airworthiness
Aeronautics LTD. Aerostar B UAS 659 Fixed Wing Medium UAS 485 lbs 24.6 ft 10 hrs 110 lbs 70 knts 18,000 ft. MSL Public Airworthiness
Aeronautics LTD.

Aerolight UAS 250 

Fixed Wing Medium UAS 88.2 lbs 13 ft 2 hrs 20 lbs 30 knts 10,000 ft. MSL Public Airworthiness
Aeronautics LTD. Aerostar A UAS 618 Fixed Wing Medium UAS 440 lbs 21.5 ft 10 hrs 110 lbs 70 knts 18,000 ft. MSL Public Airworthiness
Aeronautics LTD. Orbiter UAS

Fixed Wing

Medium UAS

16 lbs 8 ft 1 hr 3 lbs 30 knts 10,000 ft. MSL Public Airworthiness
UAS
Aircraft Model Type Size Endurance Max Speed Max Altitude Airworthiness Status
Flight Design CTLS Fixed Wing Light Sport 5-7 hrs 120 knts 12500 ft. MSL FAA Certification
Flight Star SCll Spider Fixed Wing Ultralight 2-3 hrs 60 mph 8500 ft. MSL Experimental R&D
Aircraft

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