DURANT, Okla. — The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma (CNO) and Bell Textron Inc., a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company (Bell) established an agreement for Bell to begin testing some of Bell’s mobility systems, like the Bell Autonomous Pod Transport and the Bell Nexus on the CNO test site location in rural southeastern Oklahoma.
CNO, Bell and their partners will work with the FAA, NASA, and other federal agencies to enhance emerging aviation technologies and operations to help the United States retain a global leadership position in aviation technology.
“The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma is elated to collaborate with Bell as we continue to foster an environment for innovation and collaboration,” states James Grimsley, Executive Director of Advanced Technology Initiatives with the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. “Bell is a well-established industry leader, and this relationship allows us to explore new possibilities and applications in this industry.”
“The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma continues to work towards being a recognized industry influencer and expanding our involvement in emerging aviation technologies, and we appreciate and value our strong working relationship with Bell,” states Dr. Robert Huck, Director of Test Site Operations for Choctaw Nation’s Division of Strategic Development.
“CNO became the obvious choice for flight test activity for Bell because of its proximity to Dallas-Fort Worth and their commitment to building facilities that support requirements necessary for these operations,” stated Carey Cannon, chief engineer, Innovation. “In return, Bell is providing guidance to CNO on the creation of their Emerging Aviation Technology Test Center in regard to safety and efficient flight operations. We are excited to continue our collaboration with CNO around innovative solutions.”
In late 2019, CNO and Bell announced that Bell had joined CNO’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Pilot Program (UASIPP) team where flights and tests will be conducted as part of the FAA UASIPP in preparation for future planned beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) and other more advanced UAS operations. CNO is one of nine active UASIPP sites selected by U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao in May 2018.