The University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) and its partners recently received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to routinely test drones beyond the visual line of sight (BVLOS) in Alaska.
The UAF Alaska Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration (ACAUSI) and its collaborators are conducting missions this month near Deadhorse, Alaska. The first flights are using UAS to monitor portions of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline for Alyeska Pipeline Service Co.
ACUASI is working with Boeing subsidiary Insitu and other partners to safely test BVLOS flights, as well as nighttime flights, to help integrate UAS into the National Airspace System at or below an altitude of 400 feet. The program is part of the federal UAS Integration Pilot Program (IPP).
“This flight approval from the FAA underscores the confidence that the agency has in the UAF ACUASI, Insitu and the IPP partners,” comments Esina Alic, Insitu’s president and CEO. “We now collectively have the opportunity to demonstrate our BVLOS capabilities, as well as 24/7 linear infrastructure monitoring, starting with the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System. These test flights will prove our technologies and will aid the FAA in creating new regulations for UAS flying BVLOS in the National Airspace System.”
“Working together with Insitu and our various partners, we are confident that we will be achieving new UAS capability thresholds,” adds ACUASI’s director, Catherine Cahill. “We are excited that Insitu and the ScanEagle UAS will be a part of those achievements.”