Choctaw Nation BEYOND Program awarded expanded FAA approval for BVLS operations

The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma (CNO) BEYOND Program announced it received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for an expanded Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) operational waiver.  This expands the original waiver to an approximately 43-mile-long area covering CNO medical clinics, CNO’s Emerging Aviation Technology Center testing site, and various other facilities. It is one of the largest of its type currently in the United States.  The CNO waiver covers approximately 377 square miles within the CNO Reservation area.   

This multi-faceted waiver includes a combination of true BVLOS without Visual Observers (VO’s) and BVLOS with VO’s.  The waiver utilizes ground-based Detect and Avoid (DAA) and will be using uAvionix SkyLine™ Managed C2 and DAA sensors. The CNO waiver is also the first of its kind to utilize the uAvionix C2 Skylink 5060 radio system for full connectivity in the expanded BVLOS area. 

The newly approved waiver signifies that CNO and uAvionix have demonstrated to the FAA the aircraft DAA systems, procedures, and the control network meet the safety threshold for operations in the national airspace. Key components of the system deployed in the expanded waiver area include the uAvionix SkyLine C2 management platform and pingStation3 dual-mode ADS-B receivers. The SkyLine C2 management platform is integrated with the DeTect™ Harrier radar as part of the surveillance layer and used to control several CNO owned UAS / eVTOL aircraft through the uAvionix muLTElink and SkyLink series of C2 radios. 

“This approval is a major milestone for the Choctaw Nation’s Emerging Aviation Technology Center and the CNO Reservation,” said James Grimsley, Executive Director of Advanced Technology Initiatives for the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.  “With this approval we continue to achieve major milestones in the FAA BEYOND Program by enabling BVLOS test flights for our partners and customers by leveraging the permanently deployed hardware and software from uAvionix.”   

“CNO’s continued success of demonstrating safe and controlled Beyond Visual Line of Sight operations is critical to meet the growing demand for the many use cases of drones including but not limited to package delivery, search and rescue operations, infrastructure inspection, and much more,” adds Marcus Hartman, Aviation Operations Senior Manager for CNO.  

About The Choctaw Nation  
The Choctaw Nation is the third-largest Indian Nation in the United States with more than 225,000 tribal members and 11,000-plus associates. This ancient people has an oral tradition dating back over 13,000 years. The first tribe over the Trail of Tears, its historic reservation boundaries are in the southeast corner of Oklahoma, covering 10,923 square miles. The Choctaw Nation’s vision, “Living out the Chahta Spirit of faith, family and culture,” is evident as it continues to focus on providing opportunities for growth and prosperity. For more information about the Choctaw Nation, its culture, heritage and traditions, please go to www.choctawnation.com 

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