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President Donald Trump on Wednesday directed the U.S. Department of Transportation to launch an initiative that will expand unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) testing to include flights over people, nighttime operations, and flights beyond visual line of site. The UAS Integration Pilot Program, which would allow state and local governments to seek Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval for expanded testing and use, aims to speed up integration of UAS into the national airspace.

Matt Scassero, director of the University of Maryland (UMD) UAS Test Site is available to discuss the broad goals integrating UAS into the national airspace, recent advances in UAS technology, and how this new pilot program could affect the industry. The UAS Test Site has since 2013 worked closely with FAA, state lawmakers, and the aviation industry to advance UAS rules, airworthiness evaluations, commercialization, and airspace integration.

"Integrating unmanned and autonomous systems deliberately and safely into the national airspace requires changes to our technology, regulations, and the way users interact with the systems," said Scassero. "To truly harness the power of UAS for disaster response, search and rescue, natural resource management, and more, we need a regulatory framework for operations conducted beyond line of sight, at night, and over people. This initiative could help us develop that." 

Scassero has over 30 years of experience in aviation research, development, testing, evaluation, engineering, and fleet support. He joined UMD after a 27-year career in the U.S. Navy, retiring at the rank of Captain as the Vice Commander for the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division. He is certified by the federal government in program management, test and evaluation, software acquisition, safety program management, and electronic warfare operations.

In his role as test site director, Scassero has provided expertise to state lawmakers and agencies considering changes to UAS-related policies. Maryland’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems Research, Development, Regulation and Privacy Act of 2015 was written in collaboration with Scassero and supported by the UAS industry.

Scassero can be contacted directly at mscasser@umd.edu, 301-862-7824 ext. 801 (office), or 240-925-3511 (cell).

For assistance connecting with Scassero, contact:

Anjanette Riley, A. James Clark School of Engineering, ariley12@umd.edu, 301-405-2057 (office), 217-819-2023 (cell)

Lee Tune, University Communications, ltune@umd.edu, 301-405-4679, 240-204-7375 (cell)



Related Articles:
Scassero Weighs in on FAA Small UAS Ruling
UMD UAS Test Site Hosts Southern Maryland Pilots
FOX5 DC Highlights UMD UAS Test Site's Role in NASA UTM Test

October 30, 2017


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