NUAIR Leads Way for Safe Drone Operations Over People

    drone operations over peopleNUAIR and New York UAS Test Site are demonstrating a path for safe drone operations over people: the newest collaboration with Workhorse and Aerial Vehicle Safety Solutions (AVSS)  is the 5th drone parachute validation for NUAIR, enabling scalable and economically viable advanced unmanned aircraft operations.

     FAA regulations for drone operations over people call for operators to verify that they can meet impact thresholds, limiting the potential damage that a drone crash could incur.  Attaching a drone parachute allows operators to meet those impact thresholds. Recently published ASTM International standards for drone parachutes make it easier for operators and manufacturers to evaluate parachute solutions: but recovery systems must provide evidence of rigorous testing in order to prove compliance.

    As an FAA UAS Test Site, NUAIR and the New York UAS Test Site can act as a third-party validation service for drone businesses pushing the boundaries of current regulations.  NUAIR recently worked with AVSS and drone manufacturer Workhorse to test the AVSS parachute recovery system for compliance with ASTM standards – and allow Workhorse to expedite their Durability and Reliability Testing requirements for drone operations over people.

    “The AVSS drone parachute tests conducted at Oneida County’s UAS Test Site at Griffiss are vital to ensuring safe commercial drone operations,” said Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. “Our test site continues to lead the way in drone development, and these latest standard validations will advance the entire industry to new heights. With our partners at NUAIR, Oneida County is flourishing as a world-renowned hub for UAS innovation.”

    From the NUAIR press release:

    NUAIR has now conducted three successful validations for AVSS, with the first being completed in 2020. Because drones come in many shapes and sizes, the parachute validation is tied specifically to the type of drone that was used during testing. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) prohibits most drones from being flown over people. New rules recently published by the FAA have made the process to legally fly over people easier, one of which removes the need to apply for a waiver to fly over people if the drone pilot can show they have robust safety mitigations in place that meet an FAA-approved method of compliance (MOC). The MOC is still being finalized, which includes the parameters of having a validated parachute recovery system.

    “It was great working with AVSS again and I’m happy we were able to successfully validate their product to two more platforms,” said Tony Basile, chief operations officer of NUAIR. “Our crew at the New York UAS Test Site has these validation tests down pat, making the whole process effortless and cost effective for our clients.”

    “When AVSS needed to complete the ASTM standard with Workhorse, a drone delivery partner, NUAIR was an obvious choice to partner with again,” said Josh Ogden, chief executive officer of AVSS. “Working with the NUAIR team ensures that our customers know we’ve partnered with the premier FAA designated test site and that our parachute recovery system will be properly validated. As we continue integration of our various PRS models into commercial drones and drone delivery platforms, we look forward to continuing this partnership.”

    The validation of AVSS’s PRS product on the Horsefly allows Workhorse and its partner United Parcel Service (UPS) to advance the reality of economically viable, routine package delivery via drones. The Horsefly a custom-built, American-made drone designed for safety and efficiency, can fly autonomously, and can undergo the rigors of day-to-day deliveries. Workhorse has developed electric delivery trucks which pair with the Horsefly, providing a take-off and landing pad on the roof with charging capabilities and a control center for the driver to program the drone’s delivery route.

    “We’re delighted with our team’s performance,” said John Graber, President of Workhorse Aerospace. “They’ve worked months preparing for the rigors of ASTM qualification, and it speaks well for our team and our product that we passed 45 of 45 test events with no failures. We could not be more proud of our people and their work. And that includes the AVSS and NUAIR teams. They are demanding professionals who perform to very high standards. We look forward to fielding our Unmanned Aerial Systems with ASTM-approved AVSS parachute systems.”


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