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Sat, Mar 18, 2017

First Drone BVLOS Day/Night Flights Completed

Tests Took Place Near Brisbane, Australia

The first successful flights by a drone beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) in both daylight and nighttime conditions has been completed by a partnership of Australian commercial drone maker V-TOL Aerospace and UK-based RelmaTech. The flights were continuously monitored by an operational UAS Traffic Management (UTM) system.

On Wednesday, March 1, V-TOL exceeded current legal limitations using its unique flight permissions issued by the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) and Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) to commence routine day and night BVLOS operations. The flights were undertaken using V-TOL’s fixed-wing and multi-rotor UAS at its Brisbane flight center, sited about six miles from Australia’s largest active Air Force base, RAAF Base AMBERLEY, Queensland.

“V-TOL has successfully commenced its BVLOS flight program designed to develop and test appropriate operational procedures, minimum technical platform requirements and pilot training competencies," says Mark Xavier, CEO and Chief Remote Pilot of V-TOL. “A testament to how these routine flights are viewed by RAAF operations is that AMBERLEY’s FA-18 Super Hornets and C-17 operations are not affected by our UAS operations in this airspace. Vertical and horizontal separation is maintained by RAAF ATC and V-TOL operational procedures. Life goes on in a routine, professional manner.”

V-TOL’s aircraft are now all fitted with a RelmaTech SIAM (Secure Integrated Airspace Management) tracking unit able to operate on 2G/3G/4G mobile networks. “SIAM makes the operating UAS ‘visible’ at all times – day and night – not only to its pilot and operator, but also to Air Traffic Services and the pilots of other SIAM-equipped aircraft (both manned and unmanned) operating nearby,” added John Thynne, Aviation Solutions Director at RelmaTech, who was on-site to witness the significant milestone. “Because the SIAM feed from an operating UAS can be viewed in real-time, air traffic control has greater situational awareness of UAS operating within their active domain.”

RelmaTech and V-TOL are pioneers in building and using UTM system to support commercial drone operations in non-segregated airspace, and are now conducting routine day and night BVLOS operations. “These beyond-visual-line-of-sight operations using SIAM enable advanced commercial UAS flights under complex conditions and represent a world first,” says Philip Hall, Founding Director and CEO of RelmaTech.

(Source: V-TOL Aerospace news release. Images provided)



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