Veteran-owned, tech-enabled drone inspections company Soaring Eagle Technologies, has obtained a BVLOS waiver to inspect up to 27 linear miles, the longest distance approved by the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) for commercial infrastructure, transmission and distribution inspections.
The unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) drone data collection company services critical infrastructure owners across the continental United States, and the 27-mile waiver will result in more efficient and safer inspections for utilities and other critical infrastructure industries.
The core functionality of the waiver is for inspecting transmission power lines per the FAA’s Part 107.31/33 waiver. This enables the remote pilot-in-command (RPIC) to fly down range for a unique data set. The safety component that allows the BVLOS flight range depends on Iris Automation’s advanced detect-and-avoid technology (DAA) system, Casia.
In the words of the President of Soaring Eagle, Will Paden, “Utilities, surveyors, engineers all benefit from the longer range approved by the FAA for critical inspections of transmission and distribution lines, bridges, buildings, and other infrastructure. This technology is a safer and cost-effective method to conduct routine preventative assessments to prevent outages and accidents and predict maintenance schedules. It is also a very valuable technology for post storm assessments. As if that weren’t enough of a reason to rely on the technology, it is also cleaner for the environment.”
The FAA BVLOS waivers are granted based on the safety standards and track record of the pilots conducting the mission. Unless they have secured a BVLOS waiver, the FAA requires drone pilots to maintain visual line of sight at all times with any drone they are operating. Soaring Eagle has completed over 60 BVLOS missions across the U.S. under SGI (special government interest) waivers. The company currently has the capabilities to patrol up to 100 miles of electrical transmission line per day with each BVLOS capable sUAS in the company’s fleet.
The operations of Soaring Eagle’s sUAS operations are cleaner and safer than the fossil fuel alternatives. In addition, asset owners can save more than 50% when conducting BVLOS inspections, compared to using manned aircraft such as helicopters and airplanes, to do the same work.
BVLOS functionality is applicable to post-storm inspections, controlled burns overwatch, right-of-way audits, farming and agriculture, as well as other applications covering vast terrains in short timeframes.