The Grand Sky Drone Park in North Dakota has hosted the approved launch of beyond-visual-line-of-sight large commercial unmanned aircraft system flights under a two-year certificate of waiver or authorization, Aviation Today reported Tuesday.
The COA, which was given to the Northern Plains UAS Test Site, enables General Atomics‘ aeronautical system business to test its MQ-1 Predator and possibly MQ-9 Reaper drones, as well as train operators for commercial missions within a 30-nanometer space.
The approval also allows companies to conduct BVLOS flights in Grand Sky without a chase plane, which Grand Sky President Tom Swoyer said could hinder flights for large drones.
Swoyer noted that drone operators can now assess their products without worrying about the limited operational time, refueling issues and biological needs of a chase plane and its crew.
He added that Grand Sky will possibly expand to integrate Raytheon Solipsys‘ Zeus radar system into the site.