FAA Approves Unmanned Aerial Vehicle To Patrol Border <


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FAA Approves Unmanned Aerial Vehicle To Patrol Border

By Daniel Baxter

May 20, 2010 - Congressman Henry Cuellar (TX-28), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Border, Maritime and Global Counterterrorism, announced that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has approved a Certification of Authorization (COA) for an unmanned aerial vehicle to patrol a portion of the U.S. Mexico border extending from Arizona to the El Paso region of Texas effective Tuesday, June 1, 2010.

This is one of two COAs that have been submitted to FAA to approve the flights of unmanned aerial vehicles along the Texas-Mexico border.

“This is the first of two steps in getting unmanned aircraft vehicles approved to patrol the entire Texas-Mexico border,” said Congressman Cuellar.


“This is very good news for Texas, as we seek to provide additional security measures along the Rio Grande in light of escalated border violence. However, more needs to be done. I will continue to push for the second pending COA when I meet with the FAA Administrator next week on May 20th.” 

Congressman Cuellar has long advocated for an additional COA currently pending before the FAA. If approved, this COA would approve the use of an UAV from El Paso to Corpus Christi, Texas. The Arizona to El Paso COA announced Friday is one of two certifications to ensure the entire Texas border will be approved for UAV flights. 

An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV; also known as a remotely piloted vehicle or RPV, or Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS)) is an aircraft that flies without a human crew on board the aircraft. Their largest uses are in military applications. To distinguish UAVs from missiles, a UAV is defined as a reusable, uncrewed vehicle capable of controlled, sustained, level flight and powered by a jet or reciprocating engine.

There are a wide variety of UAV shapes, sizes, configurations, and characteristics. Historically, UAVs were simple drones (remotely piloted aircraft), but autonomous control is increasingly being employed in UAVs. UAVs come in two varieties: some are controlled from a remote location, and others fly autonomously based on pre-programmed flight plans using more complex dynamic automation systems.

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