Flights just north of Farmville, Virginia, on Tuesday and Wednesday represented a major step forward for the unmanned aircraft industry by helping demonstrate that longer-range flights critical for the technology’s commercial practicality can be carried out safely and effectively.
The operation, conducted by the Virginia Tech Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership, Ligado Networks, AeroVironment, Inc., and Dominion Virginia Power evaluated communications strategies and other parameters to help build a safety case for unmanned aircraft flights beyond the visual line of sight of a pilot or observer.
Current regulations for unmanned aircraft systems, or UAS, prohibit these flights unless a specific waiver is granted by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which controls the nation’s public airspace. However, many commercial applications for UAS will need beyond-visual-line-of-sight operations to be viable from a business perspective.
Read the full story at Virginia Tech.