Oneida County’s Department of Aviation Hosts FAA UAS Test Site Meeting; Griffiss Receives Snow Removal Award

Oneida County’s Department of Aviation Hosts FAA UAS Test Site Meeting

For the first time ever, Oneida County’s Department of Aviation played host to the Federal Aviation Administration’s Unmanned Aerial Systems Technical Interchange Meeting this week at Mohawk Valley Community College’s Rome Campus.

The two-day event took place April 25 and 26 and brought together 25 representatives from across the country including FAA’s UAS Integration Office, FAA Air Traffic Organization, FAA Spectrum and Planning Team, FAA Airports Regional and District/Development Offices and the nation’s six other UAS Test Sites.

“Being as this was the first time we have hosted this event, it gave us an opportunity to showcase not only our airport, but also our UAS Operations Center and infrastructure to the representatives of the FAA UAS Integration office and those from the other six UAS Test Sites from around the country,” said Oneida County Commissioner of Aviation Russell Stark. “This event and our successes could not have been possible without the leadership and vision of County Executive Picente and the support of the Board of Legislatures and our Oneida County residents and businesses.”

The FAA UAS Test Site Technical Interchange Meetings are scheduled approximately every six months and each of the seven designated UAS Test Sites, as well as the FAA UAS Integration Office, take turns hosting.  In addition to Griffiss International Airport, there are UAS Test Sites in Alaska, North Dakota, New Mexico, Nevada, Texas and Virginia.

The meetings provide an opportunity for the FAA and the test sites to share significant accomplishments, lessons learned and insights into the progress and status of UAS test site activity in the various regions, safety material and technical advice.

The two-day event concluded with a briefing and tour provided by the Eastern Air Defense Sector.

The Oneida County Department of Aviation also recently received the Balchen/Post Award from the Northeast Chapter of the American Association of Airport Executives for excellence in the performance of snow and ice removal at Griffiss International Airport during the 2016-2017 winter season.

The award was handed out this week at the 51st Annual International Aviation Snow Symposium in Buffalo. The Department of Aviation was honored in the “Small General Aviation” category for facilities with less than 50,000 annual operations annually.

The Aviation Department’s snow removal team is responsible for clearing Griffiss’s 11,820 foot-long, 200 foot-wide runway, as well as its taxiways and over 1.1 million square feet of apron space.  It also clears all airport parking lots and other non-movement areas.

"Our Department of Aviation does an amazing job in all regards, but especially in keeping the airport clear and operational during our harsh Upstate New York winters," said Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. "Along with the honor of hosting the FAA's UAS Test Site meeting, this week has served as a real testament to the good work being done at Griffiss and shows the whole country what we have to offer."