Recently the FAA approved the National Airspace Systems (NAS) first state supported, Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) corridor.  Finally, drones can be let out into a playground specifically designated for drone testing.

The FAA designated airspace for this testing playground, consists of a 50 mile corridor that extends from Central New York to the Mohawk Valley. Initially, this corridor will be used to test both UAS platforms and traffic management “sense and avoid” technology. All this, while continuously improving the surveillance of the drones, to create a risk based safety and reliability system for Beyond Visual Line of Site (BVLOS) drone operations.


Continuous analysis and the surveillance of drone testing is needed, because the ubiquitous deployment of a BVLOS drone operation is highly dependent on these 3|S’s:

  1. Safety -  The continuous safety space of everyone and everything around the drone needs to be assured and reassured.
  2. Sense and Avoid – Reactive, preventive and predictive reliable obstacle avoidance technology to autonomously prevent controlled flight into obstacles.
  3. Security – Software with a standardized approach to security assessment, authorization, and continuous monitoring for the sharing of data from drone products and services.

When drones are launched, the considerations for the operation are very unique and different. These considerations will also need to include how the fusion of multiple factors can affect the 3|S’s. For example, if a BVLOS drone operation is mission critical, the operation must take into consideration the weather and other technical problems, especially when things don’t go as planned. Additionally, changes to a BVLOS flight will alter the 3|S factors and can sometimes alter a mission entirely, culminating in a different set of outcomes.


So, do we need a nexus of ideas?  The sensibility of this question belies the complexity of the challenge.  Often on critical “Beyond the Visual line of Sight” missions, there are many people from different disciplines, that play an integral part in releasing a drone to fly. The mission critical launch members are continuously assessing the 3|S’s of the drones flight plan, the continuous technology needs of the mission and the current state of the missions desired outcomes.

The BVLOS drone mission dynamics and variables are different for every mission, which makes each drone maneuver both interesting and challenging, especially for the drone pilot. The stability constant amongst all these variables is the drone pilot, who should become the central source of truth, especially since the pilot is accountable for the flight outcomes. The BVLOS drone pilot needs to make split second decisions that are usually only as good as the information available to make those decisions. Often, reliable information is not available when it is needed.

To help future BVLOS drone pilots make better decisions with better information, the FAA has approved several UAS test sites across the nation to continuously capture, analyze and surveil drones on BVLOS critical test missions. More information from these test sites will help provide substantive information culminating in a reliable Single Source of Truth (SSoT) for the BVLOS mission and the drone pilot.


The nexus between drones and data is the discovery we can realize to create actionable insights, to mitigate problems and create solutions. With the approved corridor and test centers across the nation, now open for business; perhaps we are entering a nexus of new opportunities and the next decade of discovery.


Jay Shears is the founder of | 2TAKEFLIGHT | 4U | that connects the dots 4U to realize your desired outcomes using aviation technology, workshops and services.| 2TAKEFLIGHT | 4U | takes the time to understand your initiative. Then, offers a wide range of customizable aviation resources to deliver results 4U.