Now you see me… Would you like to legally fly your drone beyond the line of sight in the US? A test project in North Dakota may help make that possible …Now you don’t.
Leading the way for drone flight in the United States, the Northern Plains UAS Test Site is working with the University of North Dakota and the Harris Corporation on this new project. Simply put, they wish to test and possibly push for the relaxation of the line-of-sight rules imposed for drones by the FAA.
The project will put autonomous drones in the air between Grand Forks and Fargo, North Dakota. While the unspecified UAS in use may fly by themselves, they will be constantly monitored by a pilot, at least for now. Truth is, a drone like your Mavic Pro can do this to a lesser extent already, able to fly up to 4 miles away from you and fly semi-autonomously through Intelligent Modes, such as setting waypoints.
We understand the FAA’s reasons for enacting a visual-line-of-site rule, ensuring you can see what you are doing with your craft. For most of us, building the confidence that our drones will return to home when we can’t actually see them is reason enough to follow the rule.
In a commercial sense, and at the core of the test project, things like farmer’s crops, roadway, powerline and railway inspection lend nicely to BVLOS flight.
Developing a UAS network and airspace services may eventually allow integration of UAS operations into the National Airspace System. In short, we can thank these folks in North Dakota, their work now may one day allow us to fly far away, or with our racing FPV headgear, without breaking any laws.