C&S’s SkyDome Project Wins NYAMA Phil Brito Project of the Year

C&S is proud to announce that the SkyDome project at Griffiss International Airport has won the New York Aviation Management Association (NYAMA) Phil Brito Project of the Year award. The project converted the west bay of a hangar building at the Airport into the largest indoor drone testing facility in the United States. C&S provided design and construction phase services for this renovation project, as well as serving as the full-time, on-site construction manager.

To further the already successful New York Drone Corridor initiative, the facility enables safe civilian and military drone testing and experimentation on a year-round basis, to the extent of allowing as many as 100 drones to fly simultaneously to permitting rotary wing aircraft to enter and test operational modes versus drones. The testing space provides a reconfigurable environment that is capable of meeting multiple users needs as well as a range of environmental conditions.

Testing space was carefully designed to provide comparable conditions to the urban environments that these aircraft will be operating in when fully developed. The space contains frequencies in specific ranges so as not to negatively impact the operations that occur daily on the airfield of government, commercial, and civilian aircraft. To ensure drone operations are not impacted or influenced by sound echoes, the walls and ceilings of the space are treated with anechoic material. The material is applied in two-foot-by-two-foot sections, with 100 percent coverage on the ceiling and 50 percent coverage on the walls. The wall pattern is designed to mimic the obstructions that would be found if operating within an urban environment, with fully absorbent at the top and varied at the bottom. A netting system protects the anechoic finishes from drone impacts.

In addition to the 900,000-cubic-foot indoor flying space, the existing sliding hangar doors remained in service to fully open and connect the testing area to a similarly sized netted exterior flying area, affording additional options for testing.

This facility is the first such sized facility in the world. While the materials used throughout are common for the type of use, applying them at such scale required careful coordination and design decisions based on research from studies and thorough review of different impacts on parameters.

The NYAMA Phil Brito Award was established to recognize airport sponsors and their engineering and consultant teams for outstanding achievement in the execution of an aviation-related planning, design, or construction project for airports located within New York State. The award is named in honor of Mr. Phil Brito, long-time manager of the Federal Aviation Administration’s New York Airports District Office. During his career, Mr. Brito’s tireless efforts contributed greatly to the success of aviation in New York State.

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