Kansas State Polytechnic’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) program within the Applied Aviation Research Center (AARC) is engaged in facilitating the commercialization of UAS. This vision led the AARC to be at the forefront of UAS research that influences and enhances UAS regulations and increases capabilities, founded on manned aviation’s culture of safety. The AARC staff is comprised of subject-matter experts, connecting with industry to provide training, consulting, collaboration and research. Centrally located in Kansas, we enjoy a permissive environment for access to the National Airspace System (NAS). We conduct operations as a Public entity as well as under Section 333 exemption certificates of authorization and the FAA’s newest guidelines for commercial operations, 14CFR Part 107.

Facility Information


Kansas State Polytechnic is unique in that available airspace is not a hindrance to UAS flight instruction. The UAS Pavilion, housed on the Kansas State Polytechnic campus, is a unique facility to accommodate flight on the campus. The UAS Pavilion is is one of the largest enclosed unmanned flight facilities in the nation. Measuring 300-feet-long by 200-feet-wide and 50-feet-tall, the structure provides flight training within steps of the UAS lab. Built with support by our strategic partner, Westar Energy, the facility features custom fabricated netting panels on all sides and across the top. With the structure being contained but not completely closed off to outdoor elements, the facility does not block GPS signals on unmanned aircraft and allows flight missions to be conducted in various weather conditions.

Kansas State Polytechnic is co-located on the Salina airport, featuring a runway that’s over 12,000 feet long in Class D airspace. The program also routinely operates on a grass runway at the nearby Crisis City Training Center. For Department of Defense and other governmental projects, the program also has access to restricted airspace at the Smoky Hill Weapons Range.

UAS Fleet and Payloads

Kansas State Polytechnic has a diverse fleet of over 40 aircraft. The fleet consists of fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft (both single rotor and multi-rotors). Fixed wing aircraft offer higher payload, higher speed, and longer flight endurance. Rotary wing offers the ability for an aircraft to hover and land/takeoff in a confined area. Visit the UAS Fleet and Payloads page to view a list of aircraft and specific capabilities.

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