Soaring Eagle Granted Waiver for Longest Distance T&D Commercial Operations
by DRONELIFE Staff Writer Ian M Crosby
Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) drone data collection company Soaring Eagle Technologies has been granted a Beyond Visual Line of Site (BVLOS) waiver for the inspection of up to 27 linear miles, marking the longest distance ever approved by the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) for commercial infrastructure and transmission and distribution inspections.
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This distinction cements Soaring Eagle Technologies as the United States’ leading commercial BVLOS small Unmanned Aerial System (sUAS) commercial service provider. This new waiver will enable safer, more effective inspections for utilities and other critical infrastructure.
The waiver’s main purpose is to allow for the inspection of transmission power lines as detailed in the FAA’s Part 107.31/33 waiver. With the authorization granted by the waiver, the remote pilot-in-command (RPIC) will be able to gather a unique data set. The safety component enabling the BVLOS flight range relies upon Iris Automation’s Casia detect-and-avoid (DAA) system.
“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,” said Soaring Eagle President Will Paden. “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.”
Granted to only those who meet a criteria involving the safety standards and track record of the pilots conducting the mission, BVLOS waivers free drone pilots from the usual FAA requirement that operators maintain visual line of sight at all times with any drone they are operating. Soaring Eagle has carried out more than 60 BVLOS missions throughout the country under SGI (special government interest) waivers, a higher amount than any of its competitors. At present, Soaring Eagle possesses the means with which to monitor up to 100 miles of electrical transmission line per day using each BVLOS capable sUAS in its fleet.
Soaring Eagle’s sUAS operations also provide a safer, more sanitary alternative to fossil fuel-powered operations. BVLOS inspections are also markedly more cost effective, with the potential to save more than 50% when compared to operations utilizing manned aircraft. BVLOS functionality has use cases in such varied operations as post-storm inspections, controlled burns overwatch, right-of-way audits, farming and agriculture, and any other applications that involve surveying large areas within a short span of time.
Read more about Soaring Eagle and BVLOS flight:
Ian attended Dominican University of California, where he received a BA in English in 2019. With a lifelong passion for writing and storytelling and a keen interest in technology, he is now contributing to DroneLife as a staff writer
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
For drone industry consulting or writing, Email Miriam.
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