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The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) have announced the Integration Pilot Program Lead Participants (or “Lead Participants”) for the UAS Integration Pilot Program (UIPP). We were excited to announce this week that Vigilant Aerospace will be supporting two of the participants in the program: Vigilant Aerospace to Provide FlightHorizon for Airspace Safety to Multiple FAA Unmanned Aircraft Integration Pilot Programs

U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary, Elaine Chao, announces UIPP awardees.

Now that the selections have been made, what are the next steps? According to the Federal Register Notice that initially announced the program on November 8, 2017, there are several actions required to be taken by the Lead Participants in order to launch the program:

1. Lead Participants Announce Participation

Lead Participants (the teams selected for the program) will release public announcements online (at minimum) to notify the communities in which they will be operating of their selection for the UIPP.

2. Finalize Terms of UIPP Partnerships

Lead Participants will be contacting their partners individually to complete a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) and Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA), as well as to discuss and finalize operational details in regards to their collaboration and utilization of assets offered through the partnership. Lead Participants may still contact companies/organizations that they feel can contribute to their UIPP flight testing efforts over the next two and a half years.

3. Operational Requirements Defined

Lead Participants must identify and set the operational parameters for their respective programs with the FAA by June 21, 2018 – 225 days after the publication of the Federal Register Notice (FRN) (noted in the UIPP Webinar video). Operational concepts will be proposed and defined to determine the best means of managing them at the local level under the safety oversight role of the FAA.

4. UIPP Operations Begin

UAS Integration Pilot Program flight operations may begin in August 5, 2018 – 270 days after the publication of the FRN (noted in the UIPP Webinar video). Lead Participants may begin flight operations under the observation of the FAA as outlined in their MOA and concept of operations.

5. Testing & Reporting

Lead Participants will engage in periodic exchanges with the FAA relating to the purposes of the project, including discussing and sharing the results of and experiences with the expanded UAS capability. The Lead Participant will share data with the FAA resulting from its development and testing of the concepts of operations consistent with the terms of the MOA. Over the next two and a half years of the program, the FAA may publicly release information regarding operational data and experience obtained through the UIPP program testing and partnerships (proprietary data will remain confidential). According to the FRN, “[t]he operational experience gained through these partnerships will be used to enable the FAA to more quickly authorize operations that currently require special permission and will inform future policy development to help expand this burgeoning industry.”

6. Approximately Three Years of UIPP

The UIPP is scheduled for completion 36 months from the FRN publication date. All UIPP based operations should be completed by November 8, 2020.  

*** UPDATE ***

  UAS Integration Pilot Program Resources:  

About Vigilant Aerospace Systems

Vigilant Aerospace is the leading developer of detect-and-avoid and airspace management software for uncrewed aircraft systems (UAS or drones). The company’s product, FlightHorizon, is based on two NASA patents and uses data from multiple sources to display a real-time picture of the air traffic around a UAS and to provide automatic avoidance maneuvers to prevent collisions. The software is designed to meet industry technical standards, to provide automatic safety and to allow UAS to safely fly beyond the sight of the pilot. The software has won multiple industry awards and the company has had contracts and users at NASA, the FAA, the U.S. Department of Defense and with a variety of drone development programs. Visit our website at

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