Memphis-Shelby County UAS Integration Pilot Program (Drones)

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January 3, 2019
First quarter of Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority drone pilot program features 43 successful flights

 Since August, Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority (MSCAA) partners have conducted 43 successful drone flights as part of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Unmanned Aerial Systems Integration Pilot Program (UAS IPP). The flights were part of the first phase of development in low risk areas to help develop operational procedures, assess potential impacts, develop airport and team member communication protocols, and determine the operational reliability of small drones that could be used on the Memphis International Airport (MEM) airfield.

The 43 flights represented 5.7 total flight hours. Thirty of the flights were related to security surveillance and 13 were related to aircraft inspection. 

October 11, 2018

Operations Update 10-11-18:
UAS-IPP Program Participants to Conduct Drone Tests at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium

On Thursday, October 11, 2018, the Memphis Fire Department and Memphis Police Department will conduct drone flight tests at the Liberty Bowl Stadium in support of the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Pilot (UAS-IPP) Program. The operations will include programmed and manual flying of the fence perimeter to support security inspections. These flights will help inform the development of operational safety procedures for these types of missions. Access to the areas where the flight tests will be conducted will be restricted during testing.

September 4, 2018
Memphis Airport partners in federal drone program conduct successful demonstration

Successful drone demonstrations were conducted in September by Memphis International Airport partners participating in a new U.S. Department of Transportation drone program. The operations were conducted at Agricenter International and included simulated runway and perimeter security inspections, as well as safety and backup procedures for drone operations. The recent operations were coordinated by 901Drones and the Memphis Fire Department, and representatives from other partner organizations attended the demonstration.  

» View video from the operation here

For more information, please email


Last October, President Donald Trump directed U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao to launch an initiative to safely test and validate advanced operations for drones in partnership with state and local governments in ten jurisdictions. The Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Pilot Program will be used to accelerate the safe integration of UAS into the national airspace and to realize the benefits of unmanned technology in our economy.

Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Pilot Program

On Wednesday, May 9, 2018, the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority (MSCAA) was selected by Secretary Chao to participate in the Unmanned Aerial Systems Integration Pilot Program (UAS IPP) as the lead agency. The goal of the UAS IPP is to conduct advanced drone operations in selected airspaces to generate data and knowledge for future UAS policymaking.  The UAS IPP will be conducted over the next three years.

The proposal put forth by the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority is in partnership with the City of Memphis, Agricenter International, the University of Memphis, the Tennessee Department of Transportation Division of Aeronautics, FedEx, GE subsidiaries AirXOS and Avitas, Intel, Flirtey, 901Drones, and ForeverReady Productions. This diverse team will conduct advanced drone operations, including beyond the visual line of sight (BVLOS), operations over people (OOP), and operations at night, in a total of five airspaces, including urban and agricultural areas and secure areas closed to the public.

Additionally, the Airport Authority, City of Memphis and Shelby County Government plan to educate the local community about the operations that would take place in the Memphis metropolitan area under UAS IPP through three public meetings.

The MSCAA IPP’s prioritization will focus on aircraft inspections and security/perimeter surveillance. MSCAA and FedEx will collaborate with IPP partners to conduct advanced UAS operations at the Agricenter, located in Shelby County, and then deploy to operating in the airport environment. 

  • Aircraft Inspections:  Inspection of commercial aircraft on FedEx ramp during day and night operations
  • Airport Security Fence Inspections:  Inspection of perimeter security fence and dispatched response for alarm resolution
  • Security Patrols of FedEx Ramp:  Security monitoring of FedEx ramp during day and night operations
  • Perimeter Security Monitoring:  Protecting logistics warehouses against intruders and fighting cargo theft

For more information, please email

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