Leidos Flight Service Tests Drone Deconfliction Program

The Leidos UAS Notification Service aims to provide unmanned aircraft pilots with the information needed to avoid conflicts. TAMU Corpus Christi

With an exponential increase in the number of unmanned aircraft flying in U.S. airspace, Leidos Flight Service is in the process of testing its Leidos UAS Notification Service, which was launched in September.

The service is being tested as part of the FAA UAS Pathfinder Program with Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway, which uses UAS to survey railways and bridges, with the aim of preventing conflicts between commercial UAS, military and general aviation operations.

These “deconfliction” test flights are also conducted beyond visual line-of-sight between the operator and the UAS – a flight profile that is currently not allowed for civilian UAS operators under the small unmanned aircraft rule (Part 107).

Like pilots of manned aircraft, the test UAS operators can use the Leidos website to file “flight plans” for the planned operating areas during specified times. The flight plans automatically create a notam to alert pilots and military personnel that there will be a UAS operating in the specified area.

“Our Flight Service program provides a range of safety-oriented services to more than 80,000 members of the general aviation community across the country each week,” said Paul Engola, senior vice president of transportation and financial solutions at Leidos Civil Group. “This UAS notification and deconfliction service broadens that safety mission by providing pilots with the information needed to avoid conflicts as more and more unmanned aircraft take to the skies.”

Leidos plans to expand the UAS Notification Service to other operators in the future.

Pia Bergqvist joined FLYING in December 2010. A passionate aviator, Pia started flying in 1999 and quickly obtained her single- and multi-engine commercial, instrument and instructor ratings. After a decade of working in general aviation, Pia has accumulated almost 3,000 hours of flight time in nearly 40 different types of aircraft.

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