COVID Humanitarian UAS Operation (CHURP) Concludes Delivery Test in Syracuse

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(SYRACUSE, NY) – The COVID-19 Humanitarian UAS (Unmanned Aircraft Systems) Response Partnership (CHURP) announced the conclusion of its latest operational phase: multi-day flight operations and evaluations of two separate use cases to prepare for potential wider-scale deployment. The Partnership was formed over nine months ago by Emergent 121 Consulting and Akin Gump, LLP. The operation included collaboration among UAS, health, and public safety leaders. The project began on January 14 and closed with a local media demonstration on January 16 at The State University of New York’s (SUNY) Upstate University Hospital and the Central New York (CNY) Biotech Accelerator.

UAS commonly referred to as “drones,” offers unique solutions to the many challenges faced by our health and public safety agencies during the COVID-19 crisis. Through this operation, CHURP worked to give public health officials the technology for public safety awareness, public address capability, contactless delivery, and other solutions that enhance response speed and efficiency while also significantly reducing personnel requirements and potential exposures.

“It has been a privilege to leverage diverse talents and resources while building consensus between agencies,” said Nancy Chrisman, CEO, Emergent 121 Consulting, sponsor and facilitator of the project. “We are eager to further our testing, aggregate our successes, and scale this humanitarian mission to combat COVID-19 effectively.”

Read more: FAA approves first fully-automated commercial drone flight

DroneUp, the drone solutions provider for the CHURP team, conducted training, testing, and evaluating UAS use cases. DroneUp is the first drone organization to operate with a Federal Aviation Administrations (FAA) Section 107.39 Operation Over People Waiver, allowing flight over non-participating persons and moving vehicles to support the drone delivery of COVID-19 test kits anywhere in the United States.

“The scale of partnership and success we’ve had in these efforts to aid in our national COVID response is encouraging,” said Tom Walker, CEO of DroneUp. “With expert representation from every stakeholder group, we are demonstrating the first of many ways UAS will tangibly improve the way we react to public safety and health concerns.”

DroneUp collaborated with NUAIR to provide drone pilot training at the New York UAS Test Site at Griffiss Airport. NUAIR’s extensive knowledge of local airspace and restrictions, coupled with years of testing at the test site and advanced drone operations within New York’s 50-mile UAS Traffic Management Corridor, helped make these real-life use cases a success.

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Source: NUAIR press release

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