Sanford joins Air Force Secretary Wilson for first beyond-visual-line-of-sight flight at Northern Plains UAS Test Site
Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford, who chairs the Northern Plains Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Authority, joined U.S. Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson and other officials on Monday to observe the first flight of a large UAS beyond visual line of sight without the use of a chase plane in controlled airspace at Grand Sky technology park.
The flight came one week after U.S. Sen. John Hoeven announced that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had approved the Northern Plains UAS Test Site in Grand Forks to conduct flights of General Atomics’ Predator UAS within 30 nautical miles of Grand Sky by using radar systems to monitor the aircraft. General Atomics recently announced plans to more than triple its footprint at Grand Sky.
Sanford highlighted the flight as one of two areas where North Dakota is staking ground as a UAS leader. In May, the FAA selected the North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT) to be one of 10 participants in its UAS Integration Pilot Program. The NDDOT, working with more than 30 public, private and tribal partners including the Northern Plains UAS Test Site, will work on policy that can safely advance UAS operations, including beyond visual line of sight, flights over people and night operations. Last week, the NDDOT and test site announced they had successfully completed the first series of flight tests of UAS for potential flight over a group of people in controlled airspace, working in partnership with CNN, Botlink and ParaZero.
“This history-making flight further cements our position as a national leader in the UAS industry and sends a strong signal that North Dakota is the place to be for UAS business," Sanford said. "We’re incredibly grateful to Secretary Wilson for being here to witness this momentous flight and for the public-private partnership with the Grand Forks Air Force Base that helped make this landmark achievement possible. Congratulations to Grand Sky, General Atomics, the Northern Plains UAS Test Site and everyone who worked for nearly three years to reach this milestone.”
Sanford joins U.S. Commerce Secretary Ross, Deputy Agriculture Secretary Censky at trade discussion in Fargo
Lt. Gov. Sanford, who chairs the North Dakota Trade Office, participated in a town hall meeting on trade with U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Stephen Censky, U.S. Rep. Kevin Cramer, farmers and business leaders in Fargo on Thursday.
Ross and Censky both visited Fargo at the request of Rep. Cramer, who earlier this year arranged a meeting between North Dakota agriculture producers and the administration officials at the White House.
“We’re grateful that Secretary Ross and Deputy Secretary Censky took the time to visit North Dakota to hear firsthand about the effects of trade policies and negotiations, and why we need fair agreements with our trading partners so North Dakotans can compete on a level playing field," Sanford said.
Public safety forum highlights prison reform
Lt. Gov. Sanford welcomed law enforcement, corrections officials and other stakeholders to the State Forum on Public Safety on Tuesday at the North Dakota Heritage Center. The North Dakota Justice Reinvestment Oversight Committee hosted the event and The Council Of State Governments Justice Center facilitated the discussions on policing, crime prevention, pretrial services and alternatives to incarceration. Officials from the Governor’s Office, Department of Human Services and Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation also presented testimony Thursday to the Legislature’s interim Justice Reinvestment Committee on the success of the Free Through Recovery program and the decline in North Dakota’s prison population.
#InnovationSpotlight: Information Technology Department
Reinventing government has been a priority for the Burgum/Sanford administration from day one. The Governor's Office has been partnering with agencies from across state government to seize opportunities to better serve citizens. Last August, ITD’s IT Shared Services Division launched the State Website Platform in an effort to centralize and coordinate the more than 160 state websites. Since then, 22 websites are either in development or launched, at a fraction of the cost of doing things the old way – working independently. Thanks to the entire team at ITD for their great work to Empower People, Improve Lives and Inspire Success!
#InnovationSpotlight is a recurring feature that highlights an agency or individual working to Empower People, Improve Lives and Inspire Success.