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Northern Plains granted flight upgrade

20th January 2017 - 13:00 GMT | by Beth Stevenson in London


The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has granted the Northern Plains UAS test site in North Dakota authorisation to fly large UAVs beyond-line-of-sight (BLOS), starting with the MQ-1 Predator (pictured). 

Granted on 1 January, the Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA) will allow BLOS testing to be carried out using medium- and high-altitude, long-endurance UAVs, under the control of air traffic control radar. 

Currently this kind of testing requires a chase aircraft to be flown alongside the UAV, but eventually the new permission will allow UAS such as the Predator to be flown unescorted. 

‘Operators need to have an authorisation

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Beth Stevenson


Beth Stevenson

Beth is a former senior reporter for Digital Battlespace and Unmanned Vehicles magazines. Beth graduated …

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