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05.22.2018

The Three Keys to Safe Beyond Visual Line of Sight Drone Operations

PrecisionHawk just wrapped up three years of Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) drone research with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Our extensive fieldwork focused on developing operational and safety practices, in addition to creating recommendations for technologies that enable BVLOS flight. For the full BVLOS report, read our whitepaper.

So what did we discover?

Flying is the Easy Part

To sum it up: flying is the easy part. The challenging aspect of BVLOS is ensuring that the underlying support systems and infrastructure are in place, such as control systems, sensors and data analytics. In short, the safety ecosystem around BVLOS drone flight must be airtight to conduct successful operations. See our topline report of the three necessary components for safe BVLOS flight operations.

The Three Keys for Safe BVLOS Operations

  1.  Use the Right Assistive and Detection Technology

Technology is essential to any drone flight. For BVLOS, the technology must be able to identify cooperative and non-cooperative aircraft that intrude the drone operator’s airspace, and take evasive action. Also, the technology needs to provide status alerts during operation to indicate reduced functionality, such as lag, latency, and failure.

  1.  Follow BVLOS Safety Protocol

Flying a drone beyond where the eye can see requires a specific safety protocol. Here are a few safety standards to keep in mind:

  • Make sure the pilot is aware of existing airspace classes, temporary flight restrictions, and no-fly zones.
  • Conduct pre-flight checks of hardware to make sure everything is functional.
  • Execute the appropriate operations in the event of an in-flight failure.
  1.  BVLOS Drone Operator Training

Specific training is required to fly BVLOS. It’s important to know that pilots must have sufficient experience in VLOS and receive BVLOS-specific training (at least 15-20 hours). A practical performance evaluation (in-field test) is necessary to make sure the training is complete.

The BVLOS Drone Platform

To conduct BVLOS successfully, operators should use a required technology portfolio, including:

BVLOS Flight Requirements PrecisionHawk BVLOS Drone Solution
A
sUAS Tracking

A BVLOS solution must include hardware- and/or software-based systems that transmit the live trajectory information of the sUAS.

LATAS—a combined set of geospatial, software, and hardware tools to facilitate safe drone operation—includes a GPS locator that persistently broadcasts the drone’s location and trajectory.
B
Real-time Manned Aircraft Data Feed

Cooperative aircraft, and their location and trajectory, must be displayed at one second latency or better.

LATAS is the only BVLOS flight system to carry HARRIS’s NextGen real-time aircraft location feed, including Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) and radar—all with a latency of one
second.
C
Detect and Avoid System

To detect non-cooperative aircraft, a BVLOS system is required to have an aircraft detect and avoid system with a minimum range of three nautical miles in a 360° field of regard.

SARA's Acoustic-Based Aircraft Detection (ABAD) system, available through an exclusive partnership with PrecisionHawk, detects non-cooperative aircraft.
D
Display

The assistive technology portfolio must present alerts, visual and audible, to the pilot.

PrecisionFlight Enterprise, PrecisionHawk’s flight planning and execution software, features integrated BVLOS systems management and display.

New Whitepaper: Opening The Skies To Beyond Visual Line of Sight Drone Operations

Want to dive deeper into the best practices and safety guidelines for BVLOS? In our new whitepaper, we’ve outlined everything you need to know about how  to launch successful BVLOS operations, including:

  • How BVLOS can help businesses collect data in a safer, more cost-efficient manner than traditional methods
  • Recommendations and findings from three years of BVLOS safety research
  • The safety measures, technology, training and hardware needed for successful BVLOS operations
  • How you can integrate BVLOS operations into your existing infrastructure

Read it now.