FAA Grants Initial Approval Allowing BVLOS Drone Flights on North Dakota Drone System
Commercial Company Utilizes Vantis to Satisfy FAA Safety Requirements for Advanced UAS Operations
BISMARCK, North Dakota – Leveraging Vantis, the state’s first-of-its-kind UAS network, uAvionix, an avionics company specializing in drones, received approval by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to conduct beyond visual line-of-sight (BVLOS) small unmanned aircraft flights in North Dakota. uAvionix, with support from the Northern Plains UAS Test Site, demonstrated to the FAA that it established adequate risk mitigations to satisfy required safety standards for the specified BVLOS operation within the national airspace system.
North Dakota leads the way in bringing UAS to commercial sectors safely and economically with Vantis. This success adds to the foundation that Vantis has set for the next phase of operation this summer and the state continues to lead the way for autonomy and automation.
“This first-of-its-kind approval for our partners is a critical step that validates our state’s investment and years of work to bring UAS aircraft to commercial sectors in a safe and economic way,” said North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum. “Other states are reaching out to us as a national leader in UAS.”
“We are incredibly proud to lead the way in North Dakota with our partners from Vantis and Thales,” said Christian Ramsey, uAvionix President. “Being able to demonstrate much of our ecosystem in approved BVLOS flight is a major milestone for our company, our partners, and the broader aviation ecosystem.”
The Northern Plains UAS Test Site, administering Vantis for the state of North Dakota, partnered with Thales USA to develop and implement Vantis, a UAS system that allows UAS pilots to command and control the UAS and remain well clear of other aircraft when flying beyond visual line of sight. Vantis consists of ground-based aviation infrastructure, like that used in traditional aviation, which significantly lowers the barrier of entry to BVLOS flights for multiple users.
“Vantis was designed to serve many drone operators across multiple sectors,” said Trevor Woods, Executive Director at the Northern Plains UAS Test Site. “This first approval is an important milestone for Vantis, as a blueprint for widespread commercial BVLOS enablement.”
“We thank the Federal Aviation Administration for acknowledging that our approach to BVLOS in North Dakota maintains the same safety standards that the agency expects for all users within the national airspace,” said Frank Matus, Director of ATC and Digital Aviation Solutions for the Americas at Thales USA, the state’s infrastructure partner for the Vantis network. “We continue to collaborate with FAA as regulations evolve to ensure that Vantis meets the needs of all stakeholders.”
uAvionix was founded with the mission of bringing safety solutions to the unmanned aviation industry in order to aid in the integration of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) into National Airspace Systems (NAS). uAvionix offers low SWaP TSO certified and uncertified avionics for General Aviation (GA), Airport Surface Vehicles and the UAS markets. The team consists of an unparalleled engineering and management team with a unique combination of experience within avionics, surveillance, airport services, UAS aircraft development, radio frequency (RF), and semiconductor industries.
About Northern Plains UAS Test Site
The Northern Plains UAS Test Site is one of seven Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) unmanned aircraft system (UAS) test sites in the nation. The mission of the NPUASTS is to collaborate with FAA and industry partners to develop systems, rules, and procedures to safely integrate unmanned aircraft into the National Airspace System without negatively impacting existing general or commercial aviation. NPUASTS is administering Vantis. Visit NPUASTS.com for more information.
Vantis is North Dakota’s statewide unmanned aircraft system (UAS) beyond visual line of site (BVLOS) network, the first of its kind in the nation. Created by North Dakota with an initial investment in 2019, Vantis provides turnkey support to commercial and public UAS operators through infrastructure and regulatory approvals allowing applications and usability over a variety of industries. Visit VantisUAS.com for more information.
About Thales USA
A global technology leader, Thales platforms provide air traffic control (ATC) services across 40% of the globe's airspace, making Thales the #1 air traffic management (ATM) provider in the world. The company provides solutions, services and products that help its customers – businesses, organizations and states – integrate the right mix of existing and new technologies to anticipate and address the demands of our evolving airspace system. In Vantis and North Dakota, Thales delivers an aviation-grade UAS integration capability designed specifically to complement manned aviation infrastructure while enhancing safety, integrity, interoperability within the airspace system.