PRESS RELEASE: This is a major achievement for the company, as it is now only the second South African operator, in four years of drone legislation, to be approved for BVLOS.
The current SACAA laws for drone operators for Visual Line of Sight (VLOS) operations limit flights to a radius of 500m from the drone operator and a maximum upward distance of 120m. With an observer stationed at the maximum radius of VLOS, Extended Visual Line of Sight (EVLOS) can be approved which accommodates for a radius of up to 1,000m from the pilot. BVLOS, on the other hand, allows for a flight radius beyond 1km without an observer.
"This BVLOS approval enables us to offer our clients more applications for our drone services at their sites more cost-effectively," explained Christopher Clark, managing director at Rocketmine. "We are able to cover a larger area which is extremely beneficial on large mining sites. BVLOS operations also come with an increased safety risk, as there is no visual sight of the actual drone. In response to this, Rocketmine has had to improve its operational processes to accommodate for the approval to mitigate against factors that would be safety concern."
The SACAA has very stringent and rigorous processes in place for operators to prove they are able to meet the requirements for BVLOS operations. The biggest concern with BVLOS is safety of the public as well of manned airspace traffic. Of the 25 legal operators in South Africa, only two have received approval to fly BVLOS.
Clark added: "The approval for Rocketmine to perform BVLOS operations once again demonstrates that we are industry leaders, always ensuring we are keeping up with the latest technological developments and applications. We are excited to include BVLOS in both our current and new projects."