FAA Approves Beyond-Visual-Line-of-Sight Operations at North Dakota UAS Test Site

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Last week the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approved beyond-visual-line-of-sight (BVLOS) unmanned aircraft systems (UAS or drone) operations at a test site in North Dakota. Now, with this BVLOS operation approval, operators can now develop, test, and evaluate new applications for UAS technology at the Northern Plains UAS Test Site. North Dakota Senator, John Hoeven, said, “This authorization will help companies like General Atomics, Northrop Grumman and future tenants at the Grand Sky technology park test and evaluate complex UAS operations possible nowhere else in the nation.” Senator Hoeven also said in his statement about this new development that BVLOS operations may also encourage government agencies like NASA, the U.S. Air Force and the Department of Homeland Security to bring UAS integration efforts to North Dakota. The Northern Plains UAS Test Site will use a chase plane until the Grand Sky technology park completes a software update that will link the test site to the Grand Forks Air Force Base’s digital radar system. The digital radar system will help operators monitor UAS that fly BVLOS.

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