hoyerWASHINGTON, DC  12/30/2013 – The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today announced it has selected the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership (MAAP) as one of six unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) test sites to support the integration of UAS into the national airspace system. The University System of Maryland, through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed with Virginia Tech and Rutgers University in September, will collaborate and partner on the FAA UAS test site, providing coordinated research and testing. Congressman Hoyer worked closely with Governor Martin O’Malley, Governor Chris Christie, and Governor Robert McDonnell to reach an agreement to collaborate on the project.

“Today’s announcement is excellent news for the Mid-Atlantic Region,” stated Congressman Hoyer. “Thanks to the collaboration between University System of Maryland, Virginia Tech, and Rutgers University; strong federal assets, including Pax River Naval Air Station, Webster Field, NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility, NASA Langley Research Center, and Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren; and support from industry partners, the region was strongly positioned for this important designation. I was pleased to work with Governors O’Malley, Christie, and McDonnell, as well as our three universities, in establishing the MOU between the three states, and I look forward to partnering as we move ahead with this initiative. Not only will this test site designation allow us to research and test how we can safely and efficiently integrate UAS technology into our nation’s airspace, but it will also spur job creation and economic growth throughout the region.”

“Maryland is home to the world’s leading center of UAS activity – the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD) at Naval Air Station Patuxent River – and an array of other assets. At both the university level and among federal facilities, Maryland has been performing testing and development of UAS for more than two decades,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “The selection of MAAP as one of the UAS test sites leverages the unparalleled capabilities of three world-class educational institutions to create jobs and generate a significant economic boon to the state, the region and the nation.”

Naval Air Station Patuxent River, located in the Fifth District, is recognized as one of the world’s premier centers of UAS activity. In addition, MAAP is advantaged by several Fifth District facilities and organizations, including Goddard Space Flight Center, the University of Maryland College Park, the general aviation airport in St. Mary’s County, industry partners, and community organizations, such as the Southern Maryland Navy Alliance, the Patuxent Partnership, and the Joint Atlantic and Chesapeake Ranges.