ASSURE’s Research Partner, Raspet Flight Research Lab at MSU, Works with Mississippi Highway Patrol and Delta State on Research Flights

Mississippi State University is teaming up with the Mississippi Highway Patrol and Delta State University on a series of research flights this week.

The partnership is part of a research project being carried out at MSU’s Raspet Flight Research Lab through ASSURE, the MSU-led Federal Aviation Administration Center of Excellence for UAS Research. The study is part of ongoing efforts to validate detect-and-avoid standards as uncrewed aircraft systems are integrated into the national airspace with traditional crewed aircraft.

 “This research will provide new insights and important data for the FAA to incorporate into future regulatory updates,” said MSU Raspet Flight Research Lab Director Tom Brooks. “As this effort highlights, we have great partnerships throughout the state of Mississippi. I greatly appreciate the talented pilots from the Mississippi Highway Patrol and Delta State supporting this project as we analyze data from pilots in DSU’s conventional aircraft and MHP’s helicopters.”

Crews spent Monday and Tuesday [Oct. 17-18] conducting multiple research flights per day out of Bryan Field in Starkville. The flights are part of an FAA-funded $1.5 million project that builds on prior research to help the agency develop safety performance standards for uncrewed aircraft systems operating at low altitudes.

In addition to the flights, representatives from Raspet, MHP and DSU spoke with students from the Partnership Middle School at MSU. Every student from the local sixth and seventh-grade public school is touring the flight lab this week.

MSU was selected to lead the FAA’s UAS Center of Excellence in 2015 to provide the agency with the academic research, data and support needed to safely integrate UAS, commonly referred to as drones, in the national airspace system. Since then, ASSURE has supported more than 60 projects related to advanced air mobility, cybersecurity, integrating UAS in disaster response and more. In 2020, the FAA named Raspet as the agency’s UAS Safety Research Facility.

For more on MSU’s Raspet Flight Research Lab, visit

By  James Carskadon

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