Upstate Medical University conducts first BVLOS drone flight

State University of New York Upstate Medical University has announced that it has completed a key test flight for its Air Upstate drone programme that focuses on transporting time-sensitive materials, drugs and lab samples by drone throughout the region.

Air Upstate flew its first beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) flight from the pilot at Oneida County’s Federal Aviation Administration-Designated New York Ucrewed Aerial System (UAS) Test Site at the Griffiss International Airport in Rome, N.Y., to New York’s Homeland Security Training Center in Oriskany, N.Y. on May 22. The 18.6-mile round-trip flight took 18 minutes and 20 seconds.

The flight was supported by AX Enterprize, Oneida County UAS Test Site, Causey Aviation Unmanned, Crown Consulting, and RigiTech. An Eiger drone by RigiTech was used for the flight.

The BVLOS flight advances Upstate’s drone programme’s goal of providing on-demand transport capability for the efficient, timely, and safe transport of time-sensitive materials, drugs, blood products, and lab samples.

Mark Zeman, Upstate’s chief information officer, said that drones will address the size and rural nature of the region served by Upstate by overcoming significant transport challenges in providing timely and quality care throughout the region. “Our primary motivation for this technology is its use to enhance the patient experience, especially for those in our surrounding communities,” he said.

During the project, Air Upstate has developed its understanding and experience of flying in airspace that includes manned aircraft using the latest UAS Traffic Management (UTM) tools that provide air domain awareness for the safe separation between their drone(s) and manned aircraft. 

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Upstate Medical University

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