August 28, 2023
Written by the Engineering Team, Kongsberg Geospatial
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) authorized, on Thursday August 24th , Phoenix Air Unmanned to operate a SwissDrones SVO 50 V2 weighing up to 192 pounds beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) for aerial work, aerial photography, survey and powerline and pipeline patrol and inspection. This is the first time a drone of this size has received an exemption for commercial BVLOS operations by the FAA.
The FAA is allowed Phoenix Air Unmanned to operate the SwissDrones aircraft with assisted situational awareness from visual observers through electronic means. According to the terms set by the FAA, all flights must occur:
· In Class G airspace
· In low density areas
· Above pre-planned flight paths designed to avoid any known obstacles
· Above linear infrastructure with right-of-way, except for takeoff and landing
· Primarily using infrastructure masking operations
As well as the primary technique of masking/shielding, PAU will use Kongsberg Geospatial’s IRIS Terminal for their situational awareness and visualization system to monitor air traffic positions as well as PAU’s own aircraft location.
Components of this system include local and FAA (National Airspace System (NAS)-wide) surveillance sensors, data processing with alerting algorithms and system health monitoring, and IRIS Terminal visualization display software. The digital airspace visualization system architecture using visual observers through electronic means is designed around a “remain well clear” premise of detecting and monitoring potential intruder aircraft at longer distances than what a human eye is capable.
Similarly, IRIS Terminals Geo Barrier alerting functionality will assist PAU in maintaining shielding parameter compliance, by ensuring aircraft does not depart from geometric parameters, in relation to the centerline of powerline infrastructure, as laid out in CONOPS submitted to the FAA.
About IRIS Terminal:
IRIS Terminal provides UAS operators with decision support tools such as smart airspace corridors, conflict warning and multiple types of track/traffic filtering to help manage their cognitive load by focusing attention on the airspace traffic and risks relevant to the mission being conducted.