International methodologies for conducting Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) flight operations with Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS)


  • Christian Janke
    Assistant Professor of the Practice, College of Aviation; Program Coordinator, B.S. in Uncrewed and Autonomous Systems
    Embry‑Riddle Aeronautical University Worldwide Campus
  • Robert Quiroga (invited)
    Advisor for the Integration of Unmanned Aviation
    Aerocivil Colombia
  • Rob Knochenhauer
    Director of Regulatory Affairs
    Censys Technologies Corporation

Commercial use of RPAS (drones) has been expanding year after year and the market is projected to continue to grow into the foreseeable future. While many RPAS operations can be conducted within the generally safe method where the aircraft is kept within the Remote Pilot’s (RP’s) Visual Line of Sight (VLOS), there is a growing demand to allow BVLOS RPAS flight operations. This Workshop identifies current methods of how RPAS BVLOS flight operations are conducted in different markets around the world. The conversation begins with an identification of the inherent risks that need to be considered when planning to conduct BVLOS flight operations: air risks, ground risks and equipment reliability risks. With the risks identified, risk mitigation strategies that comprise a blend of conscientious operations practices coupled with technology tools are discussed. Finally, a focus is on how Civil Aviation Authorities (CAAs-regulators) evaluate risks and mitigation strategies and determine the formulation of how to authorize user requests for conducting RPAS BVLOS flight operations in a manner that assures safety of all users of the airspace and for the population on the ground below.

Workshop Objectives
The Workshop objectives center around the following topics:

  • Use Cases for BVLOS: Identify the reasons why operators across a spectrum of industries seek to operate their RPAS BVLOS.
  • Understanding of the Risks Related to RPAS Flight Operations: Outline of what constitutes risks for RPAS flight operations and how those risks are magnified for operations conducted BVLOS.
  • Regulatory Hurdles: Review of history of RPAS regulations and discuss how to help civil aviation authorities to better understand how to best regulate the RPAS industry.
  • Technical Hurdles: Taking a closer look at the challenges to develop effective sensors, robust algorithms, and intuitive human-machine interfaces to assure that the RP’s can safely navigate their RPAS at the lowest achievable risk profile.

Focus Areas
Topics span the below list:

  • Identification of Risks Specific to BVLOS RPAS Flight Operations: Exploration of the three main risk factors to consider when operating RPAS in civil airspace: 1) air risk, 2) ground risk and 3) equipment reliability risk.
  • Risk Mitigation Strategies: Discuss operational tactics and technological tools that are used to assure high level of RPAS operations safety.
  • Standards: Address how SDOs (ASTM, RTCA, EUROCAE) and JARUS are leveraging industry expertise in the development of RPAS regulations.
  • Training: Aligning traditional aviation practices to assure safest outcomes for RPs and supporting crew in managing BVLOS RPAS flight operations.
  • Evolution of Rules: Assess the inconsistency of how regulators manage and have managed complex RPAS operations that have challenged the growth of the RPAS industry.
  • Detect and Avoid: A closer look at the technology solutions that have emerged to provide RPs with enhanced situational airspace awareness for RPAS operations conducted 

Workshop Format

  • Presentations: Complex RPAS operations experts and civil aviation authority RPAS operations advisors will reveal the nuances of how BVLOS RPAS flight operations are planned, approved, and executed.
  • Interactive Panel Discussion: Panel of industry experts and regulators engage in conversation on the stage and with workshop attendees to brainstorm on how our industry can better align technical solutions to streamline acceptance from regulators.

Expected Outcome
As an outcome of the workshop, participants will gain a deeper understanding of how to develop technical solutions while also considering the metrics against which those solutions will be assessed. Finally, we hope to truly impart upon all participants that these are multi-tiered technology solutions and that performance limitations of both the RPAS and the DAA Systems need to be fully characterized separately and combined to assure a harmonious relationship of the whole.

Intended Audience
This Workshop is suitable for students, researchers, engineers, and developers interested in learning about technology solutions that enable BVLOS RPAS flight operations and how those solutions are being scrutinized by CAAs around the world.