February 24th marked yet another big step towards the successful integration of manned and unmanned aircraft in controlled airspace. This time the breakthrough came from our neighbor to the North, Canada, where Ventus Geospatial, a Canadian company using an Aeryon Skyranger performed a Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) flight at the Foremost UAS Range in Alberta.
Transport Canada has followed closely developments in the US by the FAA in regulating UAV flights in uncontrolled airspace under Part 107 and special waivers, but now the pressure from the various stakeholders is as strong in Canada as it is in the US. This first flight lays the foundation for how small UAS operators can legally and safely fly BVLOS within Canada and around the globe. For more about drone regulation in Canada, read this interview with Matthew Johnson.
The Foremost UAS Range was created in 2014 when the Canadian Centre for Unmanned Vehicle Systems (CCUVS) was granted all necessary approvals to manage a permanent area of Restricted Airspace for testing Unmanned Aircraft Systems in Southeast Alberta. The Range offers 700 square nautical miles of airspace designated for up to 18,000 feet above sea level, and is ideal for training, research and development and is open to both Canadian and international companies.
This airspace designation is the first of its kind in Canada and will be available for UAS training, research and development for civil and commercial purposes. The designated airspace is particularly well suited for BVLOS flights and CCUVS has the ability to close the airspace when approved flight operations are taking place, thereby significantly reducing any safety risks…
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