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Mechatronics, Embedded Systems and Automation

The 9-th FAA COA (NIGHT FLIGHT) Approved! Congratulations!!

March 23, 2015

It is exciting to announce that MESA Lab at UC Merced has obtained its ever first, history-making NIGHT FLIGHT FAA COA. Huge amount of efforts has been put to pass the FAA airworthiness requirements for night flight. Thanks to Brandon Stark and Brendan Smith's joint effort since last year.

This night flight FAA COA (our 9-th approved FAA COA) has special meaning to MESA Lab, the Scientific Data Drone Research Lab. Many more applications will be enabled such as animal tracking, counting at night, crop evapotranpiration (ET) of crops at night. The full FAA COA text is attached here:


Other 8 approved COAs are:

  1. 2013-wsa-103.pdf (Our first FAA COA was approved on Nov. 2013)
  2. approved_coa_2014-wsa-29_aggieair_univ_of_ca-merced_merced_ca.pdf (Our second FAA COA approved)
  3. faa_form_7711-1_uas_coa_2014-wsa-175_aggieair_univ_of_ca-merced_isleton_ca.pdf
  4. faa_form_7711-1_uas_coa_2014-wsa-176_aggieair_univ_of_ca-merced_galt_ca.pdf
  5. faa_form_7711-1_uas_coa_2014-wsa-177_aggieair_univ_of_ca-merced_galt_ca.pdf
  6. faa_form_7711-1_uas_coa_2014-wsa-178_aggieair_univ_of_ca_merced_galt_ca.pdf
  7. NEW: approved_2014-wsa-154_aggieair_univ_of_calif_merced_atwater_ca.pdf
  8. NEW: approved_2014-wsa-155_aggieair_univ_of_calif_merced_turlock_ca.pdf

To see how we successfully gained the night flight FAA COA, refer to the following paper (to be published):

  • Brandon Stark, Brendan Smith, Nathaly Navarrete and YangQuan Chen. Airworthiness and Protocol Development for Safe Night Flying Missions for Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (sUASs) . Int. Conf. on Unmanned Aricraft Systems (ICUAS), Denver, CO, 2015. (under review)

Last updated by Prof. YangQuan Chen. 03/23/15