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NUAIR Alliance hires airworthiness manager

By Eric Reinhardt

Date:

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The NUAIR Alliance today announced the hiring of Cady Kepler, Jr. of Chittenango as its new airworthiness manager.

NUAIR Alliance is short for the Northeast UAS Airspace Integration Research Alliance.

Syracuse–based CenterState CEO, the region’s primary economic-development organization, and MassDevelopment, the Commonwealth’s finance and development agency, lead the NUAIR Alliance.

Kepler most recently served as a mechanic instructor for MQ-9 reaper aircraft at the Hancock Field Air National Guard base in DeWitt.

He has more than 33 years experience working with a range of manned and unmanned aircraft, NUAIR said in a news release. Kepler has a detailed knowledge of technical and mechanical operations.

In his role as airworthiness manager, Kepler will determine if an unmanned-aircraft system (UAS) is safe for flight.

An unmanned-aircraft system is also referred to as a drone.

Kepler is responsible for reviewing engineering data and flight records, and overseeing and documenting drone physical inspections and test flights.

 “Cady brings a wealth of aircraft-maintenance experience, including a history of working on MQ-1, MQ-9 and F-16Cs,” Larry Brinker, executive director of NUAIR Alliance, said in the news release.

The Federal Aviation Administration in 2013 selected the Griffiss International Airport-NUAIR Alliance team to operate one of six test sites in the U.S. and conduct research and development to meet a congressional mandate to safely integrate drones into the national-airspace system by 2015, according to NUAIR.

The NUAIR Alliance will conduct drone testing at several locations in New York and Massachusetts in 2014, and will play a “leading role” among the six test sites in expanding civil and commercial drone capabilities.

Under the leadership of CenterState CEO and MassDevelopment, industry experts and academic institutions in both states formed the NUAIR Alliance and combined assets, expertise, and experience to compete for a FAA-designated drone-testing site.

Organizations partnering with Griffiss International Airport and NUAIR include Saab Sensis of DeWitt, a wholly owned subsidiary of Saab AB, a Swedish defense and security company; SRC, Inc. (the former Syracuse Research Corp.) of Cicero, a nonprofit research and development company serving the defense, environment, and intelligence sectors; Raytheon Co. (NYSE: RTN), a Waltham, Mass–based aerospace and defense company; and the Salina location of Bethesda, Md.–based Lockheed Martin Corp., a defense contractor.

Partnering colleges and universities include Syracuse University, Clarkson University, Rochester Institute of Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Massachusetts institutions, and Northeastern University, among others, NUAIR said.

Contact Reinhardt at ereinhardt@cnybj.com

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