How close are we to routine beyond visual line of sight flights?
For one company, it begins this year. Mark Nisbet is the North Dakota Principal Manager for Xcel Energy, a utility power company based in Minneapolis. The company provides power to millions of homes and businesses across eight Western and Midwestern states. In April of 2018, Xcel Energy was granted authorization to fly drones beyond visual line of sight. It will be the first utility in the nation to routinely fly beyond the operator’s line of sight when it begins surveying transmission lines near Denver this year.
In this edition of the Drone Radio Show, Mark talks about Xcel, its history of using drones and the plans for flying beyond visual line of sight. Joining Mark is Nick Flom, the Executive Director of the Northern Plains UAS Test Site and West Shover, UAS Sector Development Manager for the Grand Forks Region Economic Development Corporation. Together, they talk about the partnerships in North Dakota that have made this possible and how it serves as a benchmark for the Industry moving forward.