Delivery Drones: Part 135 vs BVLOS
Flytrex CEO shares competitive differentiation
Recently, drone delivery pioneer Flytrex shared that the startup and its partner Causey Aviation Unmanned has received an exemption from the Federal Aviation Administration to remotely fly drones Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS.) But wait! Keen readers note that back in March, the company had previously celebrated receiving Part 135 Air Carrier Certification.
At the time, the Flytrex was playing up that Part 135, unlike Part 107 certification, includes the ability to fly over people and beyond the pilot’s visual line of sight. So what exactly is the difference? We caught up with Flytrex’s CEO Yariv Bash for more insights.
“Although first approvals to operate drone deliveries Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) under Part 135 were already granted earlier this year, it was still required to use Visual Observers (VOs) to watch the skies and detect other manned aircraft. This stifled expansion, as the number of required VOs grows exponentially (and expensively) with extended delivery range. With this latest approval, the FAA allows us to operate BVLOS without human VOs and instead using a technological solution to surveil the skies – a pivotal breakthrough that is far more labor, and cost, efficient.
Operating BVLOS without VOs was the last major regulatory barrier that previously hindered profitable drone delivery on a large scale. With this milestone achieved, we can now strategically navigate Flytrex’s expansion, propelled by our own advancements and momentum towards operational profitability.”
In essence, the previous certification allows a company to fly drones out of an operator’s line of sight, and means one operator can fly multiple drones. But a visual observer is still needed to check the sky for other airborne vehicles, so if anything is detected the drones can be told to avoid potential collision. Given that doubling delivery range effectively means quadrupling the area you need to observe, those labor costs scale quickly — Flytrex thinks these new savings will put it on track towards profitability.
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