US-based MissionGO, a provider of unmanned aviation solutions, and Nevada Donor Network, an organ procurement organization (OPO) serving the state of Nevada, have announced two successful test flights carrying a human organ and tissue via a UAS on 17 September, 2020.
Longest organ delivery via UAS
The second flight, which delivered a research kidney from the Searchlight Airport (1L3) to a location outside of the town of Cal-Nev-Ari, marked the longest organ delivery flight in UAS history. This flight surpassed the distance of a historic flight in April 2019 when MissionGO team members Anthony Pucciarella and Ryan Henderson, in their roles at the University of Maryland UAS Test Site and in partnership with the University of Maryland Medical Center, delivered the first kidney by UAS that was then successfully transplanted into a patient.
Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak announced a statewide closure of all “nonessential” businesses for 30 days amid the coronavirus outbreak. Update: On Friday, May 29, Nevada entered Phase 2 of Nevada’s COVID recovery plan.
We are very supportive of the Governor’s mandate, and have reduced operations at the Searchlight Airpark to only those deemed essential under the new guidelines.
Most businesses reopening in the coming weeks will be forced to limit operations by 50% of their usual capacity to allow customers to observe social distancing standards.These restrictions also apply to tenant and/or guest operations at the Airport.
Employees are required to wear face masks – at least for the duration of Phase 2.
PACI business will continue using telecommuted resources to the full extent possible while we evaluate the full extent of the impact of this pandemic on our business model and pipeline.
We will provide updates here as this situation develops.
Fly as a public aircraft operation (PAO) – for law enforcement, first responders, or other public safety/government officials
When considering your options, be sure to remember that:
Delivering goods by drone is allowed under part 107 (sUAS rule) as long as you maintain visual line-of-sight with the drone and comply with all aspects of the rule
Never carry hazardous materials unless you’ve received authorization from the FAA
Drone operators needing to fly in controlled airspace that is not currently included in LAANC, or a disaster temporary flight restriction, must contact the FAA’s System Operations Support Center (SOSC) by emailing 9-ATOR-HQ-SOSC@faa.gov.
Whatever operational path you take, the FAA strongly recommends you coordinate with local government and/or public health officials, and/or the community you are intending to serve, before flying in support of COVID-19 response efforts. This is a pre-requisite for the FAA to expedite approvals outside of normal processes.
The FAA will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as needed. The FAA’s UAS Support Center is also available to help if you have questions at 844-FLY-MY-UA or firstname.lastname@example.org.
ASTM International has approved a new standard establishing minimum training requirements for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS/drone) operators. The new standard, which will be published as F3379, addresses general, field and search-specific knowledge and skills for UAS pilots operating from remote locations. According to ASTM, it was designed to support public safety agencies fielding UAS teams.
“While other ASTM standards address the general and overarching aspects of UAS, the new standard focuses on the specific challenges for public safety remote pilots within their operational environment,” said Praxis Aerospace Concepts International CEO and ASTM International member Jonathan Daniels.
The D&R testing is comprised of test hours and cycles fully representative of desired operating state operations. The D&R testing must also include verification of all operational limits and the entire aircraft flight envelope to ensure testing thoroughly encompasses the possible conditions that will be encountered in service.
D&R Test Hour Requirements
Population density (people per square mile)
Baseline configuration (flight hours)
Reduced probability of injury configuration <30% AIS 3 or greater injury (flight hours)
Up to 100 (Rural)
Up to 3000
Up to 7000
Up to 10,000
Up to 14,000
Up to 20,000
As a rule, the D&R testing must demonstrate safe flight across the entire operational envelope and up to all operational limitations, for all phases of flight and all aircraft configurations.
Applicants will only be certificated to fly within limitations that have been fully demonstrated in test. For example, the D&R testing must encompass the most adverse weather conditions (wind, temperature, density altitude, precipitation, etc.) for which certification is sought.
Environmental conditions should also be considered, such as humidity, sand, dust, salt, particulates or foreign objects that could be ingested such as insects, etc. Additionally, D&R testing should take place in an operationally representative radio frequency and electromagnetic environment to the extent possible.
With 300+ days of flying weather a year, PACI can support Applicants seeking a Determination of Reliability (with third-party oversight) and our affiliated UAS DAR can assist in obtaining operating approval and permission to fly for the needed limitations.
The Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International earned a 2019 ASAE Power of A Gold Award for its AUVSI Trusted Operator Program (TOP), a certification program to create a culture of safety, reliability, professionalism, and trust within the unmanned aircraft systems remote pilot community, commonly known as drones. As it continues to expand and evolve, the TOP program is building confidence with end-users, driving member engagement, and strengthening the association’s relationship with the FAA.
The program supports pilots who perform a myriad of operations across dozens of industries – including energy, agriculture, construction, mining, and surveying. Because of the agility and precision sensing capabilities of this technology, remote pilots are making work faster, cheaper, cleaner, and – most importantly – safer. While a relatively new profession, remote pilots constitute a rapidly growing population of professionals around the world.
Paul Snyder, director of the UND Aerospace UAS Program, is a member of the ASTM International committee that developed standards for drone operation and maintenance as a joint program with Praxis Aerospace Concepts International Inc. He noted that receiving ASTM’s stamp of approval is important for UND’s UAS students, but also offers the potential to train UAS operators for industry.
You can read the original UND press release here. You can read more about the ASTM-PAVI UAS Approved Training Provider program here.
FAA and several industrial partners have successfully concluded real-world
testing of unmanned traffic management systems for integrating drones into
airspace in the USA. “The Eldorado and Piute Valley has been the home of
innovation in UAS airspace for commercial BVLOS operations. We started the
nation’s first commercial droneport in 2015 and expanded our testing corridor
to include Searchlight Airpark in 2017,” explained Jonathan Daniels, PACI’s CEO
and the Airport Manager for Searchlight.
The FAA operational tests were part of a program called the Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Traffic Management Pilot Program (UPP) launched in 2017 and conducted at sites in Nevada, North Dakota and Virginia. The UPP aims to help determine the services and capabilities UTM must provide to support extended and enhanced drone operations in the future.
PACI interns from the University of Nevada- Las Vegas, certified through AUVSI’s Trusted Operator Program™ and acting as Remote Pilots-in-Command, used the ANRA Technologies DroneUSS™ software platform to coordinate with the other participants of the UPP during operations on the Searchlight Airpark. Nevada’s senior Congresswoman, Dina Titus, later commended their work during the VIP Demo day at the end of the UPP.
UTM software platform for UPP and
see this as a steppingstone to more advanced drone operations at Searchlight
Airpark,” stated Brent Klavon, VP of Operations at ANRA Technologies.
During the last two weeks of July, several companies
from around the country converged on the Searchlight Airpark to test
Ground-based Detect and Avoid systems with both VLOS and
Beyond-Visual-Line-of-Sight (BVLOS). These test flights were overseen by a PACI
Remote-Pilot-In-Command using PACI’s Part 107 BVLOS within the Piute Valley.
AirMap provided the PACI operations control center with a real-time operating
picture of the airspace for both manned and unmanned aircraft using their
proven UAS Service Supplier (USS) platform, in a similar manner as to recent
demonstrations with the Virginia UPP, and using ASTM standards in California
“We’re offering the UAS industry
a one-stop-shop operation,” said Daniels. “With our full-service facility in
Henderson, our customers are able to integrate system components right into
their new or existing aircraft and then test fly at our FAA UAS Test Range just
a few miles down the road. Our goal was to develop a droneport where new or
existing customers could utilize our capabilities to support their project
without the expense of building up the capability internally or organically- in
the same manner that legacy aviation does with traditional airports.”
About Praxis Aerospace Concepts International, Inc.
Founded in 2011, PACI is a
Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business based in Southern Nevada. The
company’s mission is to develop practical solutions for multi-modal
(ground-air-sea-industrial) response robotics and unmanned systems (UxS) using
a mix of proprietary technology, unique team domain expertise, and unique
partnerships, PACI develops and operates laboratory and field facilities for
autonomous systems research, development, test, evaluation, deployment,
commercialization, and training. Praxis Aerospace Concepts International, Inc.
currently serves over 20 clients with military, public and civil
robotics/unmanned systems across the globe.
About ANRA Technologies
ANRA Technologies is a provider of end-to-end solutions for
UAS operators and airspace managers. ANRA has developed two software platforms
for commercial UAS operations. One platform is for UAS traffic management
(DroneUSS™) and the other is for orchestrating workflow (DroneOSS™). Both
platforms have been rigorously tested and vetted by the world’s foremost government
aviation entities and are operational today at multiple test sites, commercial
enterprises and UAS Corridors.
ANRA’s software platform supports a myriad of UAS through a
cloud-based architecture to enable airspace organization and management, flight
awareness, and strategic deconfliction while supporting stakeholder interfaces
and integrations. ANRA Technologies has been working on collaborative UTM
research and deployments with regulators and Air Navigation Service Providers
(ANSP) in United States, United Kingdom, Europe as well as South America.