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Fri, May 17, 2024

Echodyne Gets BVLOS Waiver for AiRanger Aircraft

Company Celebrates Niche-but-Important Advancement in Industry Standards

Echodyne has announced full integration of its proprietary 'EchoFlight' radar into the American Aerospace Technologies, Inc. (AATI) AiRanger aircraft, recently granted its BVLOS approval from the FAA.

It's good news for the UAS industry to some small extent, showing that the regulator is content to approve efficient, affordable operations beyond immediate line of sight. That's the way of the future, of course, allowing operators to command a semiautonomous aircraft from a distance, but it's not an easy sell to a very danger-averse administration like the FAA. They like to see manufacturers and developers go beyond the basics if they expect to fly from afar, generally requiring operators to apply for wavers in very distinct, limited envelopes and missions. The inclusion and approval of the Echodyne radar is great news for the UAS crowd, as the company says.

"This approval marks a major milestone for the unmanned aviation industry as a whole and is the culmination of concerted efforts over many years from a diverse array of technology partners and regulatory bodies to safely bring a next-generation, first-of-kind BVLOS aircraft into commercial operation. The level of rigor and evaluation for such a feat is not to be understated, as this process required regulatory agencies to review new, emerging technologies that had never come into their assessment purview before."

The 'complex and cutting-edge aviation navigation tech underpinning the AiRanger aircraft' have existed for a while now, but until how have remained separated by weight and cost constraints. Now, improvements in tech grant even the AiRanger some pretty beefy radar capabilities. The drone is 220 pounds, offering 12 hours and 750 miles of endurance and range all the way up to 12,000 feet AGL. With its new BVLOS waiver in hand, AATi can operate its aircraft outside visual range, relying entirely on its onboard detect-and-avoid (DAA) system for adhering to aircraft right-of-way rules. The firm says that the approval makes the AiRanger the first to meet industry standards for the DAA system.

"With the granting of the FAA waiver, it showcases how this entire process has been truly a multi-party collaborative endeavor and AATI is grateful to Echodyne for their steadfast and exceptional support throughout the multi-year effort," said David Yoel, CEO at American Aerospace Technologies, Inc. "Echodyne's EchoFlight radar provides unparalleled data fidelity and precision, and this first-of-its-kind waiver is evidence of radar's role in providing the situational awareness necessary for successful detect-and-avoid systems."

"As all stakeholders in the unmanned aviation industry are aware, it takes a village to develop such a complex aviation navigation system that receives regulatory approval," said Eben Frankenberg, CEO at Echodyne. "The integration of our EchoFlight radar into the AiRanger is one critical piece of many in the puzzle to create the safety case for BVLOS flight operation. We're ecstatic to share in this milestone industry moment and are proud to see the value of radar realized in the commercialization of BVLOS operations."



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