Unmanned Aerial Systems Program

Overview of UAS Program

  • Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) purchased and FAA Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA) approved
  • Demonstration flight of UAV October 2011
  • Dr. David Bridges arrived August 2012, served as acting director of UAS program beginning December 2012
  • Officially named UAS program director March 2013
  • TAMU-CC possesses FAA Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA)
  • Located primarily in Kenedy Co., includes part of South Padre Island
  • Maritime environment
  • COA defines region and establishes flight rules, one of which requires continuous visual observation of UAV
  • Approx. 38 mi. north to south
  • Approx. 450 sq. mi.
  • Approx. 36 mi. south of campus (as crow flies)

American Aerospace RS-16 UAV



12' 11"


85 lbs


12-16 hrs



Max Speed

65 kts

Payload Envelope

6 x 6 x 20.5"

Payload Capacity

25 lbs

Payload Power

100 watts


Pneumatic Catapult


Belly Land

  • Demonstration flights in October 2011
  • Flew from South Padre Island Beach
  • January 2013
March 2013: Image  Data Acquisition
  • Primary purposes:  to expand operational capabilities and to conduct scientific image data acquisition
  • Operational capabilities
  • Airborne observer (use of chase plane)
  • Hand-off from one ground control station (GCS) to another
  • Expansion of range to enable Gulf overflights
  • Pre-dawn launch
  • Scientific missions
  • Use of multi-spectral camera payload (high-definition video, infrared, ultraviolet)
  • Acquire images of petroleum products, sea grass, cattle, land-water interface, shore-bird habitat for use by various researchers