February 3, 2023

UMD UAS Test Site Flies Talon 240

St. Mary’s join Crisfield officials at the first flight operations. From the left are Randy Laird, Somerset County Commissioner; Matt Sasscero, UAS Test Site Director; Doug Taylor, Somerset County Administrator; John Bohanan, Delegate 29B; Charlie Fisher, Somerset County Commissioner; Jack Russell, former Commission President St. Mary’s County; Ken Reed, S. Hunt Aero Co. and helicopter pilot Emanuel Perez.

CALIFORNIA, Md. – The University of Maryland (UMD) Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Test Site conducted flight operations with the Talon 240, a 140 pound UAS with a 20 foot wingspan, at Crisfield Airport in Somerset County, MD, this month, successfully proving the operational processes and procedures required to fly larger UAS.

“We can’t overstate the significance of our operations today,” Tony Pucciarella, Director of Operations for the Test Site said of the Dec. 5 flight. “We verified not only our operational and safety procedures, but also successfully worked with our partners to ensure the system’s airworthiness; the first step in the FAA’s rigorous Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA) process.”

Other projects in progress at the UMD UAS Test Site include natural resource surveys, utilities inspections, agriculture research, and support to emergency services as well as ongoing work with high school and university students.

The airworthiness process the UMD UAS Test Site uses is one Mr. Pucciarella, a recognized expert in unmanned systems, developed based on more than 25 years working in and with the Navy. The process involves having each component of the system verified by a Subject Matter Expert with final airworthiness certified by the UMD Research Department.

Chancellor William “Brit” Kirwan of the University System of Maryland said, “What our team of scientists and engineers accomplished today is no small feat. The University System of Maryland and our flagship campus, the University of Maryland at College Park, are focused on advancing our state as a leader in UAS research and this flight is an important milestone in establishing our capabilities as a world-class research base for UAS testing.”

The UMD UAS Test Site partners with industry, academia, and government agencies to offer demonstrated expertise to support UAS-related research, testing, and education through safe, efficient, effective operations. Upcoming Test Site supported research flights include fisheries surveys, student UAS research, utilities research, and public safety support.

“The success we’ve experienced today with the Talon 240 Unmanned System is the result of the strong partnership we have with the University of Maryland, the operational expertise of the test site, and our dedicated Maryland-based staff,” stated UAV Solutions CEO Bill Davidson. “The state of Maryland has a rich history in commercial, military, and unmanned aviation and we are excited to be a part of that legacy. UAVS is very proud to be involved with the UMD UAS Test Site, its employees, and advocates and we look forward to follow on research flights.”

For additional information on the test site’s mission, vision, and goals, please visit www.uas-test.umd.edu. To request research assistance, complete and return a Research Flight Request, available on the Contact Us page of our website.

About the University of Maryland Unmanned Aircraft Systems Test Site

The UMD UAS Test Site is a leader in unmanned systems research, development, testing, and education. The Test Site leverages the capabilities of the people and infrastructure of Southern Maryland and the University System of Maryland for technical and policy issues associated with UAS.

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