BVLOS Drone Operations in New York: NUAIR Granted 35 Miles of BVLOS Flight in 50 Mile Drone Corridor

BVLOS in New YorkNUAIR brings BVLOS to New York, as the FAA authorizes commercial BVLOS drone ops over 35 Miles in NY’s drone corridor.

by DRONELIFE Staff Writer Ian Crosby

The FAA has granted New York-based non-profit NUAIR and the New York UAS Test Site the authority to fly unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) over 35 miles of airspace within New York’s 50-mile Drone Corridor. Existing regulations require drone operators to have a clear view of the drone they are piloting, limiting the distance it can be flown. BVLOS flight is crucial for the advancement of routine commercial drone operations such as medical and package deliveries.

NUAIR and the Test Site were granted their first BVLOS authority in 2019 for an eight-by-four mile stretch of airspace from the New York UAS Test Site, at Griffiss International Airport, south to the State Preparedness Training Center in Oriskany. This new airspace authority continues west of Griffiss towards Oneida Lake, bringing their current BVLOS airspace to a total of 35 miles.

BVLOS in New York

“Oneida County’s Test Site at Griffiss International Airport has long established itself as an elite hub for all things UAS,” said Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. “The one-of-a-kind testing, research and development that occurs here is elevating the entire industry. This latest FAA authorization will allow our 50-mile drone corridor to push the limits of what is possible yet again, and we look forward to the new advancements that will result.”

“We have a long track record of safe UAS test flights and real-life implementation, including BVLOS operations,” said Tony Basile, NUAIR’s COO. “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 make use of the ground-based surveillance systems (GBSS) installed throughout the corridor for the monitoring of air traffic and detection of intruder aircraft for BVLOS operations that are taking place at 400 feet or below, with visual observers ensuring safety of operations.

“Supporting innovative technology that is creating the jobs of tomorrow is at the heart of what ESD and the New York State Regional Economic Development Councils are designed to do,” said Hope Knight, Empire State Development acting commissioner and president & CEO-designate. “By continuing to support the growing UAS industry in Central New York and the Mohawk Valley, we are ensuring its continued development in New York State, securing our place as a global leader in this emerging business.”

NUAIR has held more than 3,800 UAS test flights at the New York UAS Test Site, totalling over 950 flight hours since 2014. The new authorization will help to improve upon routine commercial drone operations and bring companies worldwide to Central New York.

Read more about NUAIR, operations over people, NUAIR and public safety agencies, and a NY drone corridor.

Ian attended Dominican University of California, where he received a BA in English in 2019. With a lifelong passion for writing and storytelling and a keen interest in technology, he is now contributing to DroneLife as a staff writer.