This article was originally published in Geomatics World.
Aeryon Labs, a Canada-based manufacturer of small unmanned aerial systems (sUASs), has announced that the Aeryon Sky Ranger sUAS successfully completed the first Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) flight in Canada. The SkyRanger was chosen by Ventus Geospatial and Canadian Unmanned, as the vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) sUAS flown for BVLOS* testing and evaluation throughout the trials at the Foremost UAS Range.
These flight trials, among few BVLOS trials worldwide, are a milestone for aviation, establishing safe operational procedures and protocols for operating UAS under 25kg beyond line of sight. This inaugural flight creates the foundation for how sUAS operators can legally and safely fly BVLOS within Canada and across the globe. Civil and commercial applications, including public safety, power line and pipeline inspection, and large area mapping, will be more feasible and more cost-effective since a larger area can be covered in a single flight without the pilot adjusting location to keep the sUAS within sight.
Land and maritime environments
Transport Canada continues to be a progressive airspace regulator, establishing standards and guidelines, like BVLOS, that enable safe UAS operations within Canada, commented Dave Kroetsch, president and CEO, Aeryon Labs. Aeryon is proud to be support Transport Canada and aviation partners using the SkyRanger, which is the first VTOL sUAS to conform to the requirements established by Transport Canada for UAV system airworthiness and design, he added.
SkyRanger sUAS is an accomplished system for both land and maritime environments with thousands of hours of flight time and successful customer missions around the world. In addition to SkyRanger’s role in standardising safe BVLOS applications, Aeryon continues to bring its 10 years of operation experience in achieving industry firsts.
The SkyRanger has provided safe and reliable operations in military, public safety and commercial applications including, the wildfires in Ft. McMurray, Alberta in 2016, where Transport Canada granted approval for Ventus Geospatial to operate in restricted airspace to assist in the fire response efforts.
*Transport Canada defines visual line of sight as “unaided visual contact with the aircraft sufficient to be able to maintain operational control of the aircraft, know its location, and be able to scan the airspace in which it is operating to decisively see and avoid other air traffic or objects.” BVLOS describes UAS flight operations conducted at standoff distances beyond the visual contact described above.