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Syracuse–area sites, Rome’s Griffiss International Airport to host drone-industry convention in November

By Eric Reinhardt


Robert Simpson, president and CEO of CenterState CEO, on Thursday spoke at SRC, Inc. (the former Syracuse Research Corporation) in Cicero in announcing the upcoming UTM convention at sites in the Syracuse area and at Griffiss International Airport in Rome this November. (Eric Reinhardt / BJNN)

CICERO, N.Y. — Various sites in the Syracuse area and at Griffiss International Airport in Rome will host the 2016 UTM convention in November.

UTM stands for unmanned-aircraft system (UAS) traffic management (UTM), a NASA-led research effort that seeks to “safely” integrate low-altitude unmanned aircraft (such as drones) into the national airspace.

Robert Simpson, president and CEO of CenterState CEO announced the convention during a Thursday event at SRC, Inc. (the former Syracuse Research Corporation) in the town of Cicero.

The 2016 UTM Convention is set for Nov. 8-10.

Onondaga County, Oneida County, CenterState CEO and the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), in partnership with Empire State Development and the Air Traffic Control Association (ATCA), are partnering to bring the convention to the region, according to a news release issued during the event at SRC.

“AUVSI, which is the world’s largest trade association for unmanned systems and CenterState CEO together are going to be putting on this conference,” Simpson said in his remarks at SRC.

Organizers expect the convention to attract attendees representing the systems integration, unmanned-aerial vehicle, and unmanned traffic-management industries from around the world.

“As the only UAS test site in the state of New York, Oneida County is pleased to see the annual UTM convention here in our region,” Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente, Jr. said in the news release. “When Oneida County’s Griffiss International Airport applied for and became the UAS test site these are the type of opportunities we had planned to see and be a part of. This is an integral step in developing the UAS industry throughout all of Central New York and the Mohawk Valley.”

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in August 2014 authorized the NUAIR Alliance and Griffiss International Airport in Rome to conduct drone testing. The NUAIR Alliance is short for Northeast UAS Airspace Integration Research Alliance.

The application approval for the certificate of authorization (COA) cleared the way for testing under the FAA-designated Griffiss International Airport UAS test site.

SRC is a partner with the NUAIR Alliance, according to the NUAIR website.

SRC and Gryphon Sensors develop products that allow unmanned air systems to fly in national airspace “safely,” Paul Tremont, president of SRC, Inc., said to open Thursday’s announcement.

Gryphon Sensors is a subsidiary of SRC, Inc.

The list of industry and public officials expected to participate include representatives from the FAA, NASA and other federal agencies, as well as industry and academic organizations.

The program will feature a number of workshops on developing beyond visual line of site (BVLOS) operations in New York, as well as flight demonstrations in Syracuse and the Griffiss International Airport.

The convention will also include keynote briefings from NASA on technical-capability level demonstration 2, in which industry collaborators will participate this October.

Contact Reinhardt at

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