BVLOS Drone Flights Conducted in Support of Energy Industry in Va.


American Aerospace Technologies Inc. (AATI) says it has completed unmanned aircraft system (UAS) test flights beyond the visual line of sight (BVLOS) from Virginia’s Farmville Regional Airport.

In support of the energy industry, the flights implemented AATI’s RS-20 drones and were conducted under the federal authorization of the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership, which heads the Virginia-based UAS test site.

The campaign just completed was the first in Virginia where flights originated at an operating airport, says AATI. Energy companies and AATI partners interested in testing and evaluating sensors, analytics and aircraft to improve the safety and integrity of the nation’s linear infrastructure – including oil and natural gas pipelines and electric transmission lines – are sponsoring the research through the Pipeline Research Council International Inc.

In 2015, AATI conducted two BVLOS UAS flight campaigns on pipeline corridors in central Virginia under MAAP’s authorization.

The recent flights were conducted under a new MAAP authorization covering an area of nearly 5,000 square miles in central Virginia, including the Farmville Regional Airport.

According to AATI, the configuration of energy infrastructure in central Virginia and the support of MAAP, energy companies, the airport and the governor has created a valuable environment to conduct aviation research needed to accelerate the safe integration of UAS into national airspace.

Photo courtesy of AATI

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