Drone Flying Now Out of Sight

The Skyfront and FAA team are both very proud of this Part 107 first. Skyfront

No matter your perspective about the integration of drones into the national airspace system (NAS), Skyfront's recent flight of its Perimeter 4 hybrid gas-electric drone beyond-visual-line-of-sight (BVLOS) of the operator looks like nothing other than a complete success.

Conducted over a rugged, four-mile stretch of mountainous terrain along the Trans-Alaska pipeline, the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) maintained a constant altitude of 400 feet agl with multiple ascents and descents of 1000 feet on 45-degree slopes. The University of Alaska Fairbanks and the Alaska Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration purchased the UAV and organized the flight over the pipeline, with the approval of the Alyeska Pipeline Service Company.

Radio-based telemetry, command and control of the vehicle were uninterrupted during the flight. The Perimeter UAV, using Iris Automation's Casia collision avoidance system, was observed by Echodyne's ground-based detect and avoid systems. FAA representatives observed all aspects of the mission, including planning, system setup, and ground station operation.

Troy Mestler, CEO of Skyfront said, "Today's flight was a milestone in the unmanned community. We at Skyfront are excited to be pushing the limits of unmanned aerial vehicles here in the United States." Robert Huber, Program Manager for the Integration Pilot Program (IPP) of the FAA explained the Perimeter "did [the flight] safely, effectively and efficiently. It accomplished a beyond-visual-line-of-sight mission, and it was approved by the FAA."

Rob MarkAuthor
Rob Mark is an award-winning journalist, business jet pilot, flight instructor, and blogger.

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