FAA grants BVLOS drone waiver for a 12-mile distance, its longest ever

faa bvlos waiver

Drone solution providers Censys Technologies and Soaring Eagle Technologies have secured a fresh beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) waiver from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). This waiver covers a 12-mile distance, which the companies stress is the longest distance ever approved by the FAA.

Over the past three years, both companies have worked closely with the FAA to build a safety case for Iris Automation’s advanced detect-and-avoid (DAA) technology system, Casia. They have completed thousands of flights in the process and secured two other BVLOS waivers previously.

The new waiver will be utilized specifically for inspecting transmission power lines. Per the FAA’s Part 107.31/33 waiver provisions, the Soaring Eagle team will be able to fly three miles down range for a total of six unique miles of data. This capability, the company says, will bring down the cost of data acquisition significantly.

Also read: Smart drone radar avoids collisions automatically in key pilotless aviation tests

Will Paden, president of Soaring Eagle, says:

Soaring Eagle, Censys, and Iris Automation are on a mission to help surveyors, engineers, and asset managers – including those responsible for utilities, bridges, and other critical infrastructure – bridge the gap in cost-effectiveness in applications of unmanned aviation. The continued expansion of BVLOS operations means data acquisition with significantly lower cost and environmental impact.

It’s safe to say this waiver is one of Censys’ most expansive yet. The company, which helped its customers secure five FAA BVLOS waivers in 2021 alone, credits its success to the team’s industry expertise and ability to leverage advanced technology to get clients’ aircraft in the sky quickly and efficiently.

John Lobdell, chief technology officer and waiver team lead at the company, explains:

The difference between submitting a waiver three years ago and today is data. When we submit a waiver now, we have proof from our flight teams, DAA suppliers, and customers that proves BVLOS mission reliability.

Read more: In a first, FAA approves BVLOS drones at Delek US refineries

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