FAA grants uAvionix BVLOS approval for Vantis drone network

uAvionix BVLOS drone Vantis

Maker of avionics tech for drones and other aircraft, uAvionix has received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to perform beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) flights within North Dakota’s Vantis UAV network. 

The FAA issued BVLOS authorization to uAvionix following its demonstration of the risk mitigation and drone detect and avoid capabilities of its avionics tech. It did so on behalf of client Northern Plains UAS Test Site (NPUASTS), which operates Vantis for North Dakota. The project’s objective is to continue developing the statewide aerial network to enable a wide range of commercial and public service UAV operation.

Vantis is one of seven sites in the US with FAA approval to test systems, operating procedures, and on-ground and aerial hardware as a means of integrating UAVs into surrounding airspace – which, in this case, is all of North Dakota. 

That coverage makes Vantis the only statewide BVLOS drone network in the country, and explains why NPUASTS relies heavily on sector partners like uAvionix and air traffic control (ACT) systems provider Thales to enable safe, incident-free flights across the network.

ReadNorth Dakota’s pioneering BVLOS network enters testing phase 

Thales has been active in designing, installing, and testing a vast system of ground-based sensors to permit secure BVLOS drone flights throughout Vantis since its inception. The collective effort behind Vantis has now now gotten another boost toward completion with uAvionix tech receiving the FAA authorization.

“We are incredibly proud to lead the way in North Dakota with our partners from Vantis and Thales,” said Christian Ramsey, uAvionix president. “Being able to demonstrate much of our ecosystem in approved BVLOS flight is a major milestone for our company, our partners, and the broader aviation ecosystem.”

The low SWaP TSO certified and uncertified avionics that uAvionix produces for general aviation, airport surface vehicles, and UAV markets is being integrated into the ATC system that Thales has adapted for the specifics of Vantis’s BVLOS drone network, using its experience as a provider to scores of airports worldwide.

According to Frank Matus, director of ATC and digital aviation solutions for Thales USA, the FAA approval granted to uAvionix will be of great benefit to the looming push to accelerate testing of advanced drone operations across Vantis this summer.

“We thank the Federal Aviation Administration for acknowledging that our approach to BVLOS in North Dakota maintains the same safety standards that the agency expects for all users within the national airspace,” said Matus. “We continue to collaborate with FAA as regulations evolve to ensure that Vantis meets the needs of all stakeholders.”

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