PACI Operations during COVID-19

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.

COVID-19 UAS Operations

  • As the global Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation continues to evolve, unmanned aircraft – more popularly known as drones – have the potential to be a useful tool to perform important services.
  • Specifically, the FAA supports using drones for response efforts to provide public safety and support benefits.
  • If you’re thinking about flying your drone to support this effort, you have several options:
    • Fly under part 107, with or without a waiver – the most broadly applicable option
    • 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 uashelp@faa.gov.

ANSI UAS Roadmap 2.0 Released for Public Comment

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) released today for public review and comment a working draft of the Standardization Roadmap for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (Version 2.0) being developed by the Institute’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems Standardization Collaborative (UASSC).

Praxis Aerospace Concepts International, Incorporated (PACI) is pleased to announce our participation in the UASSC, both as a corporation and in concert with our CEO’s work within ASTM.

Read the official press release from ANSI here

ASTM Releases Public Safety Remote Pilot Standards

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.

Courtesy of NIST (2020)

“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.

Read more from AVweb here

FAA Announces Rulemaking fo Remote Identification of Unmanned Aircraft Systems

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued the proposed rule for remote identification of drones. The proposed Remote I.D. rule would apply to all drones that are required to register with the FAA (recreational drones weighing under 0.55 pounds are not required to register), as well as to people who operate foreign civil drone in the United States.

Jonathan Daniels, PACI’s CEO, represented ASTM as a voting member on the 2017 FAA Aviation Rulemaking Committee, and coined the term “electronic license plate”

Read the unpublished notice here, and check frequently for the public comment period.

UAS Type Certification (FAA D&R)

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)
375 150
Up to 3000 1100 540
Up to 7000 2500 1300
Up to 10,000 3600 1800
Up to 14,000 5000 2500
Up to 20,000 7200 3600

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.

Learn more by reading here

UAS training gets ASTM seal of approval

As the first university approved to meet ASTM International for training students in unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) , the UND John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences is planning to extend this expertise beyond the campus.

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.

PACI Hosts Real World Testing for Drone Traffic Management and BVLOS flight at Searchlight FAA UAS Test Range

The 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 with Representative Titus

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.

UPP flight tracking with ANRA Technologies DroneUSS™

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 and Switzerland.

“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.

You can read the full article on SUASNews here

PACI CEO moderates “UTM and the Future of the Airspace” panel at the North Carolina Drone Summit

On the third day of the highly successful North Carolina Drone Summit, a group of Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) experts took the stage to discuss what the future of urban air mobility might look like. The panel took questions from an audience eager to learn more about the state of the technology and about the different alternatives available to drone operators today.

Members of the panel were:

  • Jonathan Daniels (Moderator), CEO Praxis Aerospace
  • Phillip (Phil) Hall, CEO RelmaTech Ltd. (UK)
  • Brent Klavon, VP Operations, ANRA Technologies
  • Laurent Huenaerts, General Manager UNIFLY
  • Matthew Satterley, Head of Federal Policy and Government Affairs, AIRMAP

You can read the full article on Commercial UAV News, found here

Parachute Testing to ASTM Standards

PACI facilities on Searchlight Airpark

PACI provides Third Party Testing Agency (TPTA) services for applicants who seek Part 107.39 Waivers using ASTM as a Method Of Compliance.

The new ASTM standard defines the requirements for the design, manufacturing, and testing of sUAS parachute recovery systems.

Amongst other things, the standard requires an autonomous triggering system to detect failures and deploy the parachute without relying on the RPIC (remote-pilot-in-command) as well as a flight termination system to stop the motors from spinning.

To meet the standard, parachute systems will need to pass a series of aerial deployments (45 for multi-rotors) through which they need to prove the effectiveness of the system in the sUAS’s full flight envelope and in various failure scenario.

F3322-18 requires the integrator/manufacturer to perform a series of over 45 aerial deployments in different scenarios together with a 3rd Party Testing Agency. These scenarios include two types of failures; Full Motor Cut (FMC), basically a complete loss of power to all rotors, and Critical Number Motor Failure (CNMF), a partial failure resulting in only some of the motors malfunctions. These deployments are performed at different UAS states (mainly hover or full forward speed).

Contact us here for more information, or call 702-586-1160 to schedule.