Company Gets Federal Green Light for Nighttime UAV Work

Posted by Betsy Lillian on April 21, 2016 No Comments

Toronto, Ontario-based Industrial Skyworks has been granted a commercial exemption from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to conduct building inspections via unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) both at night and during the day.

Specifically, according to the exemption grant provided by the FAA, the company petitioned to use Aeryon Labs’ Aeryon Scout drone for daytime operations and the Aeryon SkyRanger for nighttime operations. Industrial Skyworks notes in its petition that the SkyRanger has lights that can be seen at night from a distance of 5,000 feet.

The company describes itself as a commercial drone and data solutions company that serves “industrial and commercial markets worldwide” and offers “UAV data and image collection, technical analysis, and advanced image modeling services.”

According to a Wall Street Journal report, this nighttime commercial authorization is the first of its kind issued by the FAA.

“Night flying is very different from day flying because human vision at night is not as receptive as it is during the day,” the exemption states. “Therefore, the FAA has developed processes and procedures to ensure the safety of aircraft operations conducted at night. Pilots operating at night must be trained and tested to ensure they have the basic knowledge required to operate safely at night.”

Thus, in order to conduct the inspections at night, the operator must have an “airline transport, commercial or private pilot certificate that allows night operations,” in addition to a current FAA airman medical certificate, the exemption states.

The daytime operations, however, permit a valid U.S. driver’s license in place of the FAA airman medical certificate. Both the night and day operations are permitted up to 400 feet in altitude.

In the exemption, Industrial Skyworks says an addition safety measure will include a “lighted takeoff and landing area for night operations.”

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