The Air National Guard’s 174th Fighter Wing is a step closer to gaining federal permission to fly unmanned Reaper drones out of its base at Hancock Field, according to U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer.
The National Defense Authorization Act signed into law last week by President Barack Obama allows for the establishment of six national test sites where drones could fly through civil air space.
Schumer, D-N.Y., said Tuesday he pushed for the establishment of six spots, instead of the planned four, to improve the chances that Hancock Field would be included. The 174th Fighter Wing has been trying for almost five years to convince the Federal Aviation Administration to allow flights of the MQ-9 Reaper drones out of Hancock Field.
The FAA bans such unmanned flights because of concerns about the remotely piloted drones flying through civil airspace used by commercial aircraft at Syracuse’s Hancock International Airport.
Schumer said he sent a letter Tuesday to FAA Acting Commissioner Michael Huerta, asking for Hancock to be one of the national test sites.