Bell Helicopter, December 18, 2019 - DURANT, OK – The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma (CNO) and Bell Textron Inc, a Textron Inc company, announced an agreement to add Bell to the CNO UASIPP team and begin testing some of the Bell innovations and systems on CNO-owned property in rural southeastern Oklahoma.
The flights and tests will be conducted as part of the FAA Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Pilot Program (UASIPP) in preparation for future planned beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) and other more advanced UAS operations. CNO is one of nine UASIPP sites selected by U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao in May 2018.
CNO, Bell and their partners plan to work with the FAA and other federal agencies to enhance emerging aviation technologies and operations to help keep the United States a leader in aviation.
“The Choctaw Nation continues to be excited to work with our key strategic teammates like Bell as we begin to foster innovation and utilize new technologies in today’s world,” states James Grimsley, Executive Director of Advanced Technology Initiatives. “Working with an industry leader like Bell validates our investment and highlights all the hard work and success our team has had to date.”
“We are proud and excited to be a part of the CNO UASIPP team,” said Scott Drennan, Bell’s vice president, Innovation. “This agreement will enable us to continue to test our vehicles and work in a collaborative effort with CNO and the FAA to improve aviation technologies and achieve new possibilities together.”
Future missions for the CNO UASIPP team include advanced drone operations – including BVLOS - for agricultural applications, public safety operations, infrastructure inspections, safe operations over people, and weather related missions.
UAS IPP Program
The Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Integration Pilot Program (IPP) is an opportunity for state, local, and tribal governments to partner with private sector entities, such as UAS operators or manufacturers, to accelerate safe UAS integration. The program will help the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) craft new enabling rules that allow more complex low-altitude operations by:
- Identifying ways to balance local and national interests related to UAS integration
- Improving communications with local, state and tribal jurisdictions
- Addressing security and privacy risks
- Accelerating the approval of operations that currently require special authorizations.
The Program is expected foster a meaningful dialogue on the balance between local and national interests related to UAS integration and provide actionable information to the USDOT on expanded and universal integration of UAS into the National Airspace System.
About the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma: The Choctaw Nation is the third largest Indian Nation in the United States with close to 200,000 tribal members and more than 9,000 employees. The first tribe over the Trail of Tears, the historic boundaries are in the southeast corner of Oklahoma. The Choctaw Nation’s vision, “Living out the Chahta Spirit of faith, family and culture,” is evident as it continues to focus on providing opportunities for growth and prosperity.
About Textron: Textron Inc (NYSE: TXT) is a multi-industry company that leverages its global network of aircraft, defense, industrial and finance businesses to provide customers with innovative solutions and services. Textron is known around the world for its powerful brands such as Bell, Cessna, Beechcraft, Hawker, Jacobsen, Kautex, Lycoming, E-Z-GO, Arctic Cat, Textron Systems, and TRU Simulation + Training.