Beyond visual line of site (BVLOS)

The Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), or Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA), industry is a global market that is developing rapidly. The industry has experienced considerable growth in the very small vehicle sector (quad-copters/drones) with technology enabling autonomous operation with little or no training. In line with advances in technology, global aviation safety regulators have enabled commercial operation of these very small vehicles through legislation and rules governing commercial operators and their safe conduct; predominantly for vehicles weighing less than 7kg and operating within line of sight of the remote pilot. 

The emergence of this technology, coupled with the acceptance of commercial UAVs by aviation regulators and the community, has resulted in early adopters seeking to expand on their current operations into the Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) operating environment. With a thirst to operate for longer periods, over greater distances and to conduct multiple missions at once, operators are seeking a platform to disrupt the status quo of current information gathering techniques.

Globally, Emergency Services/Military/Police/Border Control are early adopters of this technology and are achieving great results with small image capturing UAVs with low endurance and carrying capacity. The natural progression of this operational capability is into the BVLOS endurance environment where fuel powered fixed-wing RPA’s are designed to operate, but where legislation has been restrictive for most operators. 

The commercial market is crying out for this to be enabled with a wide range of sensor suites. 

Realisation of the BVLOS operating environment for UAV operators relies on three factors: 

  1. Access to a suitable platform that provides flexibility to meet the broad needs requirements of the emerging market, at a price point within the appetite of early adopters, that offers a level of reliability and airworthiness (possibly including type-certification) to satisfy regulators. 

  2. Integrators capable of enabling such UAV’s to operate better than existing solutions with new state of the art sensors, autonomously, BVLOS, and with powerful data analytics. 

  3. Aviation regulators legislating for the regular and safe operations of UAVs in airspace of manned aircraft without compromising the high level of aviation safety. 

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) of Australia is urging industry to work with them in generating a service history of successful BVLOS operations, and the trials being done by Energias with the Flamingo Mk3 for ANAC in Brazil will add to CASA’s service history. 

Silvertone UAV has a suitable platform, the Flamingo Mk3, has success at appropriate sensor integration and is able to conduct regular BVLOS operations in conjunction with CASA and early adopters to create this service history and open BVLOS flights to approved operators.