American Aerospace Technologies, Inc. Announces Successful BVLOS UAS Flight Campaign in Virginia for the Energy Industry
David Yoel CEO of American Aerospace Technologies, Inc. (AATI) today announced that AATI has successfully completed flight tests for the energy industry utilizing Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) from the Farmville Regional Airport in Farmville, VA. The campaign just completed was the first in Virginia where flights originated at an operating airport, and the first with an end-to-end system that delivered critical data to end users in near real-time. Flights with AATI’s RS-20 UAS were conducted May 10-13.
Energy companies and AATI partners interested in testing and evaluating sensors, analytics and aircraft to improve the safety and integrity of our nation’s linear infrastructure, including oil & natural gas pipelines and electric transmission lines are sponsoring this research through the Pipeline Research Council International, Inc.
In 2015, AATI conducted two BVLOS UAS flight campaigns on pipeline corridors in Central Virginia under a Certificate of Authorization (COA) issued by the FAA to the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership (MAAP) at Virginia Tech. The recent flights were conducted under a new MAAP COA covering an area of nearly 5,000 square miles in central Virginia enabling flights from the Farmville Regional Airport.
The configuration of energy infrastructure in central Virginia and the support of the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership (MAAP), energy companies, the airport and the Governor’s Office, have created a uniquely valuable environment to conduct the aviation research needed to accelerate safe integration of UAS into the national airspace, and to test and evaluate sensors, analytics and communications systems needed to address the key challenges facing industry.
David Yoel said “Virginia offers an incredible environment to conduct the flight testing needed to develop safe and effective Beyond Line of Sight UAS for the energy sector. The energy infrastructure, the interest and backing of the energy companies, the services offered by the MAAP and the active support of the Governor’s office have made this the obvious location to conduct these flight operations.”
American Aerospace Technologies Inc. (AATI) has been developing sensors and analytics to improve aerial patrol of pipeline corridors since 2010. Until recently this work focused on machinery threat on standard patrol aircraft. AATI sensors have been flown in manned aircraft for hundreds of hours over thousands of miles of pipeline corridors. More recently drones have been added to the effort, including long-endurance unmanned aerial systems (UAS) for pipeline and electrical transmission line patrol and small electric drones for use at facilities and for tower inspection. Along with developing and building systems, AATI provides aerial patrol, mapping and inspection services using both manned & unmanned aircraft.
Published on The Roanoke Star, Monday, May 23, 2016