On Monday and Tuesday, the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT), along with more than 30 university and corporate partners, conducted drone flights beyond the visual line of sight (BVLOS). The initiative is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Integration Pilot Program (IPP).
The first flight was scheduled to take place on Tuesday; however, with rain and storms
predicted, it was conducted on Monday. Another flight did take place on Tuesday at a news conference; Kansas State University Polytechnic took the lead on both days’ operations.
More flights will continue this week with AirMap, Pulse Aerospace and Iris
“We’re proud of what we’re doing in Kansas to create new jobs, improve flight safety
and advance agriculture,” says Bob Brock, KDOT’s director of aviation and UAS. “Our
flights mark the beginning of a new generation of Kansas innovation.”
KDOT was selected in May as one of 10 entities to lead the UAS IPP. The flights this week – and future flights – will test aircraft capability and reliability for BVLOS operations, as well as collect data to expand advanced UAS operations nationwide.
Over the next two years, various Kansas IPP team partners will conduct tests over
transmission lines, farms, roads and other infrastructure well-clear of Kansas citizens.
“Kansas has been a valuable aviation partner for decades, and the launch of the IPP is
another opportunity for us to work with all of the professionals here in Kansas as we
take the next steps that will pave the way toward full integration of unmanned aircraft
into the national airspace,” says Dennis King, FAA program manager for the Kansas UAS
The Kansas IPP team’s partners will focus on integrating UAS operations into Kansas
industries involved in infrastructure inspection and precision agriculture.