In a milestone for the drone industry, uAvionix anounced last week that in joint operation at the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma (CNO) Emerging Aviation Technology Center, they’ve successfully completed the first Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) flight in non-segregated airspace using aviation-protected C-Band frequencies in the United States. Serving as the Command and Control Communications Service Provider (C2CSP), uAvionix has marked a significant leap forward for Uncrewed Aircraft Systems (UAS) operators and businesses looking to expand scalable UAS operations.

The BVLOS flight, made possible through uAvionix’s SkyLine software service, was the culmination of years of engineering, planning, and regulatory cooperation. This achievement is poised to improve industries such as medical and package delivery, linear utility inspection, and emergency management.

Paul Beard, uAvionix’s founder and CTO, discussed SkyLine software’s capabilities, which encompass link management and detect and avoid services across multiple frequencies and data inputs. It adheres to rigorous aviation safety and certification standards, allowing BVLOS flights without the need for chase vehicles or visual observers. Beard describes it as a “brilliant piece of engineering and operations.”

uAvionix recently secured FCC approval, in collaboration with the FAA, to operate both airborne and ground radio stations on C-Band during BVLOS flights. The SkyLine cloud-based software service, coupled with the SkyLink airborne and SkyStation ground-based radios, ensures uninterrupted communication over challenging terrains.

The BVLOS flight showcased uAvionix’s Super Volo aircraft and its innovative muLTELink5060 airborne radio, supported by four SkyLink5060 ground radios deployed across the expansive CNO UAS test site. The SkyLine system continuously monitored communication links between the ground stations and the aircraft, ensuring reliable command and control. Detect and avoid data from terrestrial sensors enhanced situational awareness for the Remote Pilot in Command.

James Grimley, Executive Director for the Choctaw Nation Oklahoma Emerging Aviation Technologies Center, recognizes uAvionix’s pioneering efforts, emphasizing their role in creating a technical and operational system that paves the way for safe UAS operations, benefiting both the economy and culture of their communities.

Why it’s important: uAvionix, driven by its mission to enhance aviation safety, has achieved a historic BVLOS flight and set the stage for future UAS and aerial mobility operations, all while adhering to aviation-grade standards and regulatory approval. This achievement marks a considerable step towards realizing the potential of drones and autonomous aerial systems in various critical applications.

Posted by Naish Gaubatz