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Radar tower and mobile operations command center at Kentland Farm

Radar tower and other mobile equipment for drone research

We conduct flight tests in diverse environments tailored to the wide range of goals our partners have for their UAS research. For each use case, we identify a relevant site that can support safe operations as well as the specific approvals and resources that will allow the customer to meet their objectives; we then work closely with the FAA and other stakeholders to make the operation possible. To facilitate this flexibility, we’ve focused our investments on mobile assets that can travel to a variety of operations sites. We have managed UAS operations all over the country, using a range of operational approvals and constructs, and would welcome the opportunity to work with you to safely enable your operation.

Flight Approvals

As an FAA-designated UAS Test Site, MAAP can conduct research and flight test operations under a variety of approval mechanisms. We have significant experience conducting public aircraft operations, obtaining Part 107 waivers through our safety case process, and supporting exemptions to existing rules. We use these tools to enable flight operations in diverse locations tailored to the needs, requirements, and qualifications for each mission. 

Mobile Operations Command Center 

A key piece of our infrastructure for supporting a wide variety of UAS operations in a range of environments, the MOCC serves as a central location to coordinate operations and track and collect data for research and analysis. Features of the MOCC include

  • 3 workstations for UAS command and control.

  • Surveillance workstation which can connect to any compatible ground-based radar.

  • Ability to receive, process, and disseminate high-bandwidth airborne sensor data. 

  • ADS-B receiver.

  • Davis Vantage Pro 2 weather station.

  • 900 MHz Omni antenna.

  • A climate-controlled workspace for year-round research in a variety of environments and weather conditions.

Mobile DAA and support equipment:

  • SRC Gryphon R1400 Radar

  • Mobile tower, height adjustable to 74’ and 106’, max load 550 lbs

  • Echodyne Echoguard Radars

  • Mobile masts, 49’

  • Motorola radio repeater

Local Testing Facility: Kentland Farm

Ideal for small UAS operations that do not require a specific operational environment, the Kentland Experimental Aerial Systems (KEAS) laboratory is one of several university research centers located at Kentland Farm, an 1,800-acre agricultural research facility about ten minutes outside of Blacksburg. The KEAS laboratory includes a 300-foot paved runway for small UAS and a hangar space suitable for research and events.

Virginia Tech Drone Park

MAAP helped lead the design and construction of the Virginia Tech Drone Park, a facility managed by the Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science. Located on the university’s main campus, the park is the tallest netted flight facility in the country and provides the largest free-span flight area. It’s used extensively by university students and faculty, community organizations, and other external groups. 

  • Dimensions: 300’ x 120’ x 85’.

  • Because the enclosed area is not considered part of the National Airspace System, the park is ideal for experimental operations, prototype aircraft, or other types of flights that would not be permitted in open airspace. 

  • Adjacent WeatherSTEM unit provides detailed real-time meteorological data to support research and flight planning. 

  • For more information on the park’s services and usage protocols, and to reserve time, see here