Spright earns first-of its kind FAA waiver for drone operations

drone operations

Utilities will benefit from new long-linear inspection capabilities

Spright announced today that it earned a nationwide, non-geo-specific Certificate of Waiver (CoW) for Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) drone operations from the FAA. The CoW allows small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) to travel up to four nautical miles for critical utility infrastructure surveys. This waiver puts Spright in a unique position to maximize service efficiency for utility customers across the United States.

“Spright is proud to have earned the FAA’s first non-geo-specific BVLOS waiver for utility inspection, and we believe it is a testament to our aviation-minded culture that puts safety at the centre of everything we do,” said Joe Resnik, president of Spright. “Moving forward, Spright customers will have access to the most advanced and versatile inspection solutions in the industry, resulting in a more effective maintenance model that leads to measurable time and cost efficiencies.”

BVLOS refers to a critical capability to fly drones further than what is visible to the human operator, depending on the landscape and terrain. As part of a broader drone program, BVLOS operations enable electric utility companies to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of long-linear inspection and vegetation management activities. BVLOS operations also allow companies to perform more frequent and demand-responsive inspections, leading to a maintenance model that better predicts and helps to decrease the risk of outages and interruptions.

Obtaining a BVLOS waiver is a lengthy process that requires a complex analysis of internal operations and procedures to ensure total compliance with regulatory standards and requirements. Established as the UAS division of Air Methods, Spright leverages its aviation foundation to operate at the highest level of safety and professionalism. By issuing this waiver, the FAA recognizes that Spright has achieved all necessary benchmarks to perform BVLOS flights in a safe and compliant manner.

“I am proud of our commitment and leadership in seeing this process through to a successful end,” said Resnik. “Being the first UAS operator in the utility space to receive this type of waiver really speaks to the collective operational experience of the team and overall maturity of Spright operations.”

Spright’s BVLOS services are available as part of a comprehensive UAS inspection solution or as a standalone service for utility companies looking to increase the long-range capabilities of their existing drone program.

About Spright 

Spright provides turnkey UAS service solutions that are revolutionizing healthcare delivery and aerial utility inspections. Applying groundbreaking technology and an innovative service model, Spright offers streamlined and sustainable drone-based solutions to overcome the everyday challenges of inefficient ground operations. Spright is based in Gilbert, Arizona and is a division of Air Methods.

About Air Methods

Air Methods (airmethods.com) is the nation’s leading air medical service, delivering lifesaving care to more than 100,000 people every year. With over 40 years of air medical experience, Air Methods is the preferred partner for hospitals and one of the largest community-based providers of air medical services. United Rotorcraft is the Company’s products division specializing in the design and manufacture of aeromedical and aerospace technology. Air Methods’ fleet of owned, leased, or maintained aircraft features more than 450 helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft.

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