ICAO Adopts New Standards for Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems and amends Chicago Convention

Montréal, 1 March 2021 – During its ongoing 222nd Session, the ICAO Council today adopted new and amended Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) driving important progress on the international safety and interoperability of remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS).

The new provisions will become effective on 12 July 2021, and applicable as of 26 November 2026. The most important pertain to Annex 8 — Airworthiness of Aircraft to the Chicago Convention, and cover certification requirements for remotely piloted aeroplanes and helicopters, in addition to the remote pilot stations (RPS) they are operated from.

The latest RPAS progress required minor modifications to Annexes 1 (Personnel Licensing) and 2 (Rules of the Air) of the Convention, and will eventually be supported by more substantial Annex 2 changes already in development. Previous Annex 1 Standards adopted by the Council in 2018 introduced a regulatory structure for the issuance of remote pilot licences for applicability as of November 2022.

Further information is available here

American Robotics Receives Historic Approval for BVLOS without Humans On-site After Testing at Searchlight Airport (1L3)

Detailed Testing of Detect and Avoid Capability at Searchlight Facility (2017, PACI, Inc)

American Robotics, a leading developer of fully-automated commercial drone systems, today became the first company approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to operate automated drones without human operators on-site.

The company’s Scout System™ features advanced acoustic Detect-and-Avoid (DAA) technology that enables its drones to maintain a safe distance from other aircraft at all times. By developing a layered, redundant system of safety that includes proprietary technical and operational risk mitigations,

After numerous flights at Searchlight, including under an Experimental Category Special Airworthiness Certificate and using the Praxis BVLOS 107.31/33 Waiver, American Robotics has proven that its drone-based aerial intelligence platform operates safely in the National Airspace System (NAS), even when it conducts flights Beyond-Visual-Line-of-Sight (BVLOS) of the operator.

PACI RPIC Supervising a Flight Under a 107.31/33 Waiver (2017, PACI, Inc)

Read their press release at this link.

Listen to an interview with Reese Mozer, American Robotics CEO, at this podcast.

Read more at Dronelife with this link, at JD Supra about their exemption here, as covered by Commercial UAV News here and a SlashGear here.

PACI CEO named to Industry Trade Advisory Committee

Many congratulations to Jonathan Daniels, CEO, who has been appointed as a Cleared Advisor to the Industry Trade Advisory Committee on Aerospace Equipment (ITAC 1).

The  Industry Trade Advisory Committees (ITACs) are a unique public-private  partnership jointly managed by the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Office  of United States Trade Representative (USTR) that engages business leaders in  formulating U.S. trade policy.

ITAC members are appointed jointly by the Secretary of Commerce and the United States Trade Representative (USTR). Advisors have direct access to policymakers at Commerce Department and the Office of USTR. In such capacity advisors assist in developing industry positions on U.S. trade policy and negotiating objectives.

You can find more information about the ITAC here, as well as a list of current members here.

MissionGo Completes Longest Organ Delivery UAS Flight

Courtesy of MissionGO (2020)

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.

MissionGO chose Searchlight Airport (1L3) as an appropriate location for organ delivery testing because of its unique environment. The sparsely populated area, wide open terrain, class G airspace, flexible access, and unparalleled support from Praxis Aerospace Concepts International make this an ideal testing ground.

The staff and personnel from Praxis Aerospace Concepts International make operating unmanned aircraft here easy and safe for all types of UAS.

Read more about this flight in the original press release here, at Air and Rescue’s article here, follow the updates on Linkedin here, or on Twitter here.

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

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