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senseFly Drones First to Meet Requirements for Beyond Visual Line of Sight Flights in Brazil

BY Zacc Dukowitz
3 May 2019

Brazil’s National Civil Aviation Agency (ANAC) just issued its first-ever approval for BVLOS (Beyond Visual Line of Sight) drone flights.

Photo credit: senseFly

Under the new approval, several senseFly drones can now be flown BVLOS up to 400 feet in height within a three-mile radius from a licensed drone pilot or visual observer. Visual Line of Sight (VLOS) operations can only be flown within about a third of a mile of a pilot, so these new permissions open up a much wider range for conducting commercial operations.

This is a momentous step forward for BVLOS operations in Brazil, and a really exciting time for the country’s expanding commercial drone industry.

– Pierre-Alain Marchand, Regulatory Compliance Manager at senseFly

senseFly, a Parrot-owned drone manufacturer, creates professional drones for mapping and other commercial uses. Here are the senseFly drones granted BVLOS permission under the recent approval:

  • The eBee Classic
  • The eBee Classic RTK
  • The eBee Plus
  • The eBee SQ

Learn more about senseFly’s drones on their website.

Brazil and Drones

As in the U.S., drone-specific regulations are fairly new in Brazil.

Just about two years ago, in May of 2017, Brazil passed law RBAC-E94, the first law in the country to lay out a framework for the use of drones in civil applications.

Similar to the FAA’s Part 107 rules for small unmanned aircraft, RBAC-E94 created a robust set of rules for drone operations in Brazil, including the establishment of a commercial licensing system and the requirement for obtaining a license to operate drones of different weight classes.

This new BVLOS authorization is exciting for the future of the drone industry in Brazil because the expansion of BVLOS operations in the country will almost certainly help expand use cases and overall adoption, as it has in the U.S. and elsewhere.

The Approval Process for BVLOS Drone Operations in Brazil

Drones intended for BVLOS operations in Brazil must have their design approved by ANAC.

According to ANAC, all drones that are intended for BVLOS operations must:

  • Present relevant information and alerts on the condition of the aircraft to the remote pilot
  • Have a navigation system with sufficient performance and reliability to ensure operation safety
  • Have emergency recovery capability
  • Have an adequate aircraft lighting system

In order to obtain BVLOS approval, senseFly and its partners had to develop a series of manuals, documents, technical reports, and tests—in laboratory, ground, and flight—demonstrating that senseFly’s UAVs met all the safety criteria required by ANAC and Brazilian law.

We’re very proud to be the first company in Brazil to receive authorisation to commercialise ANAC-certified drones for BVLOS flights. This approval is a major achievement for us and is something we have been working towards, in collaboration with senseFly and AL Drones, for a long time.

– Eduardo Oliveira, President of Santiago & Cintra

Licensed Brazilian drone operators can fly certain ANAC-approved drones BVLOS up to 400 feet if he or she has:

  • Insurance with third party damage coverage except for aircraft belonging to entities controlled by the State
  • A certificate of registration or the certificate of experimental marks
  • A valid airworthiness certificate
  • An operational risk assessment document approved by ANAC, contemplating each operational scenario, which must be updated within the last 12 calendar months prior to the operation flight manual

Want to learn more about drone laws in Brazil? Check out these resources:

senseFly and BVLOS

senseFly is no stranger to working through government processes to obtain BVLOS approvals.

Back in 2017, senseFly was the first drone operator granted “any time” BVLOS authorization in Switzerland. The company also holds BVLOS approvals in China, Spain, Denmark, and France.

Photo credit: senseFly

Recently, senseFly supported the completion of Canada’s largest BVLOS trial to-date, Project Honeycomb, which was created to assess the commercial viability of BVLOS drone operations, and to demonstrate how BVLOS can provide highly geo-accurate aerial data in a variety of different applications.

This project led to a Guinness World Record for the World’s Longest Cumulative BVLOS Battery-Powered UAV Flight for a flight that spanned an incredible 1,692.01 miles.

senseFly drones are not sold directly to consumers via Amazon or other online retailers, but must be purchased either directly from senseFly, or from an authorized reseller. This is probably because they’re fairly expensive—an eBee RTK could run you as much as $25,000, putting it in the same league as Intel’s Falcon 8+.

With its list of BVLOs permissions and its steady progress in infiltrating new markets, senseFly is definitely a company we should be watching over the next few years.

How do you think the new BVLOS approval will impact drone adoption in Brazil? What industries do you think will use it first, and most? Chime in with your thoughts on this thread in the UAV Coach community forum.

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