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Public Statements

Letter to Secretary Lahood - Give UAS Test Site Proposal Strong Consideration

Congressman Steny H. Hoyer (MD-5) and Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD), together with Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) and the bipartisan Maryland House Delegation, sent a letter to U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today urging him to give the University System of Maryland's Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) test site proposal his strongest consideration. The entire Maryland delegation strongly supports the University System of Maryland's bid to be selected as one of six UAS test sites chosen by the Federal Aviation Administration.

The letter was signed by Congressman Hoyer, Senators Mikulski and Cardin, and U.S. Representatives Elijah E. Cummings, Chris Van Hollen, Dutch Ruppersberger, John P. Sarbanes, Donna F. Edwards, John Delaney, and Andy Harris.

"The University System of Maryland's proposal uses the collaborative strengths of higher education, industry, and state government to develop deployable solutions to increase the safety, efficiency, reliability, and security of our national airspace transportation networks," the Maryland Delegation wrote. "The Maryland proposal will also give the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) the best opportunity to gain a better understanding of training requirements, operational specifications, and technology considerations. In addition, this proposal will enable researchers to develop and promote operational strategies to mitigate the increasing congestion and safety concerns of our nation's airspace."

The full text of the letter to Secretary LaHood follows:

May 14, 2013

The Honorable Raymond H. LaHood
Secretary
U.S. Department of Transportation
1200 New Jersey Avenue SE
Washington, DC 20950

Dear Secretary LaHood:

We urge you to give the University System of Maryland's Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) test site proposal your strongest consideration. The University has brought together leaders in the private sector and public agencies to accelerate the future integration of UAS into the national airspace.

The University System of Maryland's proposal uses the collaborative strengths of higher education, industry, and state government to develop deployable solutions to increase the safety, efficiency, reliability, and security of our national airspace transportation networks. The Maryland proposal will also give the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) the best opportunity to gain a better understanding of training requirements, operational specifications, and technology considerations. In addition, this proposal will enable researchers to develop and promote operational strategies to mitigate the increasing congestion and safety concerns of our nation's airspace.

The Maryland proposal also has the potential to resolve the possibility of UAS in the maritime environment based on the proposed test site locations which include private airports on the Eastern Shore and Southern Maryland, as well as federal facilities including NASA Wallops Island Flight Facility, NASA Langley Research Center, and the Naval Air Systems Command facility at Webster Field. The proposed UAS test site program will help the FAA gain a better understanding of operational issues, such as training requirements, operational specifications, and technology considerations, which are primary areas of concern to ensuring the safety and efficiency of the entire aviation system. The proposal will also bring together researchers across the diverse institutions of the University System of Maryland who concentrate on critical technologies, public policy and legal issues.

Thank you for your strong consideration of our request. There is no better proposal to achieve the FAA's goals to integrate UAS into the national airspace and solve the problems facing our nation's transportation systems.

Sincerely,


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