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A new drone operation authorization is expected to help advance the reality of routine commercial drone operations in New York. NUAIR and the New York UAV Test Site have received authority from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to fly drones beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) across 35 miles of airspace within New York’s 50-mile Drone Corridor. 

Current regulations require drone operators to always have a pair of eyes on the drone, limiting the ability to fly long distances. The ability to safely fly BVLOS is the key to unlocking the full potential and economic advantage of routine commercial drone operations like medical and package deliveries.

NUAIR (Northeast UAV Airspace Integration Research Alliance) is a New York-based nonprofit with a mission to safely integrate unmanned aircraft systems (UAV) into the national airspace. It manages operations of the New York UAS Test Site at Griffiss International Airport and is responsible for the continued advancement of New York’s Advanced Air Mobility Proving Grounds and UAS corridor.

“We have a long track record of safe UAV test flights and real-life implementation, including BVLOS operations,” said NUAIR chief of operations Tony Basile. “This new BVLOS airspace authorization will allow us to test more advanced, long-range flights and help us prove BVLOS operations can be done safely – the key component in realizing the true economic advantage of commercial drone operations.”

NUAIR will utilize the ground-based surveillance systems (GBSS) installed throughout the corridor to monitor air traffic and detect intruder aircraft for BVLOS operations that are taking place at or below 400 feet. Visual observers may also be deployed during BVLOS operations to assure safety of operations, according to uasmagazine.com.

NUAIR has conducted over 3,800 UAV test flights at the New York UAV Test Site, within New York’s Drone Corridor, equating to more than 950 flight hours since operations began in 2014.