Picente & Brindisi Demand Answers from U.S. DOT on Griffiss International Airport’s Exclusion from UAS Pilot Program

Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente, Jr. and New York State Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi today said they have written to U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao, expressing their strong disappointment that the proposal from New York State, Amazon and other partners to participate in an Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Pilot Program was rejected. Picente and Brindisi say they are requesting an explanation from Chao why the DOT did not accept New York’s bid, and how they can be reconsidered for the project.

“For the U.S. Department of Transportation not to select our UAS Test Site at Griffiss International Airport as one of the participants in its Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Pilot Program isn’t just extremely disappointing, it’s quite frankly baffling,” Picente said. “Considering we are one of just seven FAA-sanctioned test sites in the country, and that our partnership with the NUAIR Alliance has nearly completed the most advanced 50-mile UAS research and development corridor anywhere in the world, one would think our inclusion would be a no-brainer. It appears this important decision was unjustly tainted by politics rather than being based on merit. I believe Oneida County and our partners are at the very least owed an explanation for this terrible oversight.”

“It boggles the mind as to why the feds have failed to include Griffiss or ANY Northeast test site in on this national pilot,” Brindisi said. “I hope this was not a political decision and am demanding answers because when it comes to this study and the idea of UAS integration, only science will do. Griffiss and NUAIR have been doing tremendous work and I have pushed long and hard with former Rep. Hanna and U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer on aligning the critical State support necessary to propel the Oneida County test site. I will bring this issue straight to the White House because I have real concerns over the recent decision and know how valuable Griffiss is to the national UAS data pool. We can still fix this and we must

To view the County Executive’s letter to Secretary Chao, click here.