Skyfront drone performs first BVLOS flight under FAA Part 107

September 5, 2019  - By
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Members from the Alaska IPP team gather around the Skyfront Perimeter UAV after a successful BVLOS mission. (PRNewsfoto/Skyfront Corp.)

Members from the Alaska IPP team gather around the Skyfront Perimeter UAV after a successful BVLOS mission. (Photo: PRNewsfoto/Skyfront Corp.)

Skyfront’s Perimeter 4 long-range hybrid gas-electric drone this summer successfully performed the first civilian beyond-visual-line-of-sight (BVLOS) flight without visual observers under the FAA’s Part 107 rules.

The flight serves as a significant step toward the safe integration of unmanned aerial vehicles into the national airspace, according to the company.

During the round-trip flight, the Perimeter UAV flew over mountainous, rugged terrain along a four-mile stretch of the Trans-Alaska pipeline. The UAV maintained a constant above-ground altitude of 400 feet with multiple ascents and descents of 1,000 feet on 45-degree slopes. Radio-based telemetry, command and control of the vehicle was uninterrupted during the flight.

FAA representatives observed all aspects of the mission, including planning, system setup and ground-station operation. The Perimeter “did [the flight] safely, effectively and efficiently. It accomplished a beyond-visual-line-of-sight mission, and it was approved by the FAA,” said Robert Huber, program manager for the Integration Pilot Program (IPP) of the FAA.

“Today’s flight was a milestone in the unmanned community,” said Troy Mestler, CEO of Skyfront. “We at Skyfront are excited to be pushing the limits of unmanned aerial vehicles here in the United States.”

The Perimeter UAV was integrated with Iris Automation’s Casia collision avoidance system and was observed by Echodyne’s ground-based detect and avoid systems.

The University of Alaska Fairbanks and the Alaska Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration purchased the UAV and organized the flight over the pipeline, with the approval of the Alyeska Pipeline Service Company.

About the Author:


Tracy Cozzens has served as managing editor of GPS World magazine since 2006, and also is editor of GPS World’s sister website, Geospatial Solutions. She has worked in government, for non-profits, and in corporate communications, editing a variety of publications for audiences ranging from federal government contractors to teachers.

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