Simulyze Concludes Support of NASA’s Third Nationwide Test of Its UAS Traffic Management Platform, Begins Work on FAA’s Integrated Pilot Program

Simulyze continues its long-running air traffic management support for drone operations at UAS test sites in Alaska and North Dakota.


Simulyze, Inc., a leading provider of operational intelligence (OI) technology and applications that empower both federal and commercial organizations, announced it has completed its deployment of its Mission InsightTM (OI) application during NASA’s Technical Capability Level 3 (TCL 3) National Campaign testing of its UAS traffic management (UTM) research platform. Simulyze is continuing to advance its Mission Insight platform to support UTM as it participates with NASA in its TCL 4 development program. Simulyze also announced that it will serve as a UAS Service Supplier (USS) for two Integration Pilot Program (IPP) projects awarded by the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

NASA’s Technical Capability Level tests are advancing research of prototype technologies for a national UTM system that could develop airspace integration requirements for enabling safe, efficient low-altitude operations by drones. The TCL 3 National Campaign, held from March-June 2018, focused on testing technologies that maintain safe spacing between cooperative and non-cooperative UAS over moderately populated areas. TCL 4 will be held in April-May 2019. FAA’s UAS test sites are in the process of developing proposals for TCL 4 while NASA is conducting UAS Service Supplier (USS) spiral development simulation exercises to support the TCL 4 exercise. Simulyze is one of the eight remaining USS vendors able to support TCL 4.

FAA’s IPP is a first-of-its-kind program that has approved state, local, and tribal governments to conduct complex drone operations in 10 locations nationwide as part of an effort to expand commercial UAS operations and help the FAA determine how to safely integrate drones into the U.S. airspace.

Simulyze’s Mission Insight enterprise-level solution processes and analyzes large streams of data from disparate sources and integrates and visualizes all aspects of multiple flight operations in a single, customized graphical interface. It ultimately provides UAS operators with situational awareness and a common operating picture for safe and efficient drone operations.

“As the only UAS service provider who has worked with all build versions of NASA’s UTM software, we’re proud to continue supporting NASA’s UAS traffic management research and our support to the Alaska and North Dakota UAS test sites,” said Kevin Gallagher, president and CEO of Simulyze. “And, we’re excited to continue our partnerships in Alaska and North Dakota in the FAA’s new Integrated Pilot Program, where we’ll be working with state and local governments and the FAA to advance the path forward for integrating safe and efficient commercial drone operations into our nation’s airspace.”

NASA Technical Capability Level 3

During TCL 3, the Alaska Center for UAS Integration (ACUASI), the lead organization for the Pan-Pacific UAS Test Range Complex, in Fairbanks, Alaska and the Northern Plains UAS Test Site (NPUASTS) in Grand Forks, North Dakota used Simulyze’s Mission Insight application as a traffic management system and workflow tool to submit flight plans, monitor aircraft status and telemetry, activate flights, transmit aircraft position data to NASA’s UTM research platform and monitor other surveillance information.

Simulyze will continue to support the FAA’s UAS test sites in NASA’s TCL 4 exercise and the pending FAA UTM Pilot Program. Simulyze has a Space Act Agreement with NASA in support of its UTM that runs through December 2019. The company’s partnership with NASA’s Ames Research Center is focused on the research and development of a UTM system to enable and support safe and effective UAS operations.

FAA Integrated Pilot Program

The FAA’s IPP will help the USDOT and the FAA tackle the most significant challenges in integrating drones into the NAS while reducing risks to public safety and security, and will contribute to new rules that allow more complex low-altitude operations. The ten pilot projects announced in May 2018 will evaluate a host of operational concepts, including night operations, flights over people and beyond the pilot's line of sight, package delivery, detect-and-avoid technologies and the reliability and security of data links between pilot and aircraft. Fields that could see immediate opportunities from the program include commerce, photography, emergency management, agricultural support and infrastructure inspections.

Competing with 200 businesses that submitted a total of 149 IPP project applications of which 10 were selected by the FAA, Simulyze was chosen to serve as a UAS Service Supplier for two awarded proposals: 

1. North Dakota Department of Transportation, Bismarck, N.D.: This test project will include a wide variety of diverse operations that incorporate advanced technologies that seek to expand UAS operations at night and beyond visual line of sight. Operations will be in multiple types of airspaces ranging from rural to urban areas and will explore applications relating to linear infrastructure inspections, crop health monitoring, media reporting and emergency response.

2. University of Alaska-Fairbanks, Fairbanks, Alaska: This test project will use enabling technologies that include collision avoidance, detect and avoid day and night, ADS-B, differential GPS, satellite services, infrared imaging and UTM. Operations will primarily focus on pipeline inspection and surveying in remote areas and harsh climatic conditions.

The IPP projects are underway and will be completed by September 2020.

About Simulyze:

Simulyze, Inc. is a leading provider of operational intelligence (OI) technology and applications that empower both federal and commercial organizations to make better, more strategic decisions in real-time. Built on its OI platform, Simulyze’s flagship product, Mission Insight™, is the industry’s leading commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) application that makes complete situational awareness easy to attain and easy to deploy. It processes and analyzes large streams of data from disparate sources to provide air, land and sea operators, commanders and managers with a common operating picture (COP) in a customized graphical interface. Since 2000, Simulyze’s OI technology has been deployed across numerous organizations worldwide, including the Department of Defense, the U.S. Intelligence Community, the Department of Homeland Security and commercial UAS applications. For more information, visit and follow on Twitter: @Simulyze.

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Topics: News, UAS, NASA

In the News

275 UAS Traffic Management

President and CEO of Simulyze Kevin Gallagher speaks about UAS Traffic Management on the The UAV Digest, an audio podcast devoted to Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and Systems. 


The UAV Digest

 FAA’s New Unmanned Traffic Management System in Testing

The FAA is undertaking a research initiative with partners including Harris Corporation, the University of North Dakota and the Northern Plains UAS Test Site to explore the implementation and operation of unmanned traffic management (UTM) systems in the National Airspace System.

The Northern Plains site in Grand Forks, North Dakota, is the same one that has  hosted testing of large commercial drone beyond-visual-line-of-sight (BVLOS) operations by companies such as General Atomics, with help from Grand Forks Air Force Base. The site is also a participant in the Department of Transportation's UAS Integration Pilot Program and helping NASA and Collins Aerospace (formerly Rockwell Collins) test UTM technology. The FAA's testing, according to Northern Plains Director of Research and Development Chris Thielen, is initially focused on Part 107 UAS operating under 400 feet, though he acknowledged the need to later expand to higher altitudes and larger UAS.

The FAA has been very focused on UTM over the last year, trying to both contend with the risks of small UAS mucking up normal flight operations, potentially grounding flights and introducing unexpected complications, as well as finding a way to integrate the coming wave of commercial unmanned package-delivery, urban air mobility and and other largely low-flying unmanned traffic into an already busy airspace.

In this latest effort, Northern Plains "will conduct flight tests to validate the components" of the FAA's UTM system, primarily using xFold Dragon x6 Hybrid drones, according to Thielen. Testing is currently underway and is scheduled to continue through March or April, targeting different components of the architecture. A focus of the testing is understanding the flow of information from user to the UTM system and FAA, and Northern Plains said that both visual and BVLOS operations will be evaluated.

Once the first phase of testing is complete, the next step of the project calls for "use case" flights to ensure that the system holds up to commercial UAS operations. In that phase of the project, the team will support obtaining Part 107 waivers using the system, allowing interested commercial partners to use the system for their UAS operations.

“Data gathered from this type of testing is the critical information needed to ensure safe management of UAS in the national airspace to help move commercialization of the industry forward," Northern Plains Executive Director Nick Flom said in a statement.

Partners in the testing outside of the FAA and Northern Plains include the University of North Dakota, Harris, Collins Aerospace, Simulyze, AiRXOS, Echodyne and uAvionix. The university and Harris jointly lead the project, with UND heading up risk management efforts and Harris acting as the technology provider and installer. Northern Plains is executing the operations with support from the FAA.


Aviation Today

Northern Plains UAS Test Site Announces Research Collaboration with FAA

The Northern Plains Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Test Site announced today a research initiative with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the implementation, operation, and maintenance of UAS Traffic Management (UTM) systems in the National Airspace System.

The primary goal of the UTM Pilot Program is to develop, demonstrate, and provide an enterprise service to support UAS Traffic Management operations. The program will be an important component of the initial transfer of NASA’s UTM research technologies to FAA and Industry.

Tests will be conducted in partnership with the University of North Dakota (UND) and UAS company partners, including Simulyze, Inc., Rockwell Collins, AiRXOS, Harris Corporation, Echodyne, and uAvionix.

Flight tests will take place in the Grand Forks and Thompson, ND areas. Each flight event will evaluate different components and capabilities of the deployed system. Much of the UTM system relies on communication of information between the users of the system. Understanding the flow of information in the operational system from user to the UTM and FAA systems is a component of these test efforts. How these flights can be accomplished in uncontrolled and controlled airspaces in both visual and beyond-visual line of sight of the pilot in command will be evaluated.


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