The FAA Authorizes Phoenix Air Unmanned to Operate Drones Beyond Visual Line of Sight for Certain Aerial Work
The FAA authorized Phoenix Air Unmanned to operate SwissDrones SVO 50 V2 drones beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) for aerial work, aerial photography, survey and powerline and pipeline patrol and inspection. The authorization allows these operations below 400 feet altitude over certain roads and sparsely populated areas below pre-planned flight paths.
The FAA issued the approval after asking for public input on four BVLOS requests, including from Phoenix Air Unmanned. The agency is reviewing the other three requests. Data collected from these operations will inform the FAA’s ongoing policy and rulemaking activities. Learn more here and here.
The FAA is focused on developing standard rules to make BVLOS operations routine, scalable and economically viable. The agency chartered the Beyond Visual Line of Sight Aviation Rulemaking Committee on June 9, 2021 to provide safety recommendations to the FAA. We are reviewing their final report.
The FAA’s long-term goal is to safely integrate drones into the National Airspace System rather than set aside separate airspace exclusively for drones. This approach is consistent with the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 and the FAA Extension, Safety, and Security Act of 2016. The 2016 Act directed the FAA, in conjunction with NASA, to continue developing a plan for Unmanned Aircraft System Traffic Management (UTM), which will assist in integration efforts.