UAS Testing Takes Flight at Hillsboro Airport

By Mark Askelson markkrjb@loretel.net (8/8/19)

Hillsboro, ND -- Hidden behind the hangars at the Hillsboro airport in a small fenced off area is a relatively unassuming trailer and a very high tech radar system. So what’s happening in the small town airport just off I-29? Just the latest and greatest in Unmanned Aerial Systems research in the state of North Dakota. The Northern Plains UAS Test Site in Hillsboro works with the FAA and industry partners to develop UAS systems, rules, and procedures to safely integrate unmanned aircraft into the aviation system without negative impacts to already existing aviation industry.

Jakee Stoltz, Director of Operations for the Northern Plains UAS Test Site, talks more about their operation and it’s history.

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The Northern Plains UAS Test Site in Hillsboro is currently doing tests with a unique unmanned aircraft. Stoltz says what sets it apart from other UAS systems is that is uses a gas engine to extend the life of its battery system.

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More testing will be conducted on the aircraft over the next couple months before Northern Plains intends on applying for a waiver to conduct tests beyond line-of-sight. Stoltz provides some examples of how the general aviation industry could benefit from their tests.

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Stoltz notes that they plan on doing those beyond line-of-sight tests by the end of year.