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Drones have taken a giant leap from being a mere idea to becoming a worldwide phenomenon. Beyond line of sight drone gives us the ability to see farther, capture different kinds of data, and analyze that information in new ways. Sure, it was possible in the past to fly a plane over a farm field with infrared technology, but it was too expensive to be deployed for a typical farmer. Drones make this type of technology widely available, for farmers, miners, researchers, and search and rescue teams. They are truly our eyes in the skies.

…we easily exceeded our intended flight lengths. Our goal was to test the remote control, telemetry, and battery endurance for those distances. Both performed beautifully.

But the promise had been held back due to regulations that required drones to be flown within line of sight, which almost defeats the entire purpose. Canada has taken a step forward and certified a number of drones for beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) flights, advancing the field tremendously.

Essentially BVLOS means that the pilot does not have a visual line of sight on the drone while it is in flight. BVLOS is deemed as the holy grail of approvals. One company that passed the test is Microdrones, founded in Germany in 2005.

The test flights were held at the Unmanned Aerial System Centre for Excellence in Alma, Quebec on July 13th and 14th. Microdrones utilized the md4-1000 UAV, a drone model that has a certain level of quality and safety.

Microdrones have prepared a total number of 10 flights that test the drones’ width and aptitude range. Among other things, the company was also able to measure the battery life of their md4-1000 UAV. Yannick Savey (a UAS pilot), Jeremy Jung (a Research and Development Engineer), and Jocelyne Bois (the Flight Operations Manager), all manned the BVLOS test flights.

“All flights went well, and we easily exceeded our intended flight lengths. Our goal was to test the remote control, telemetry, and battery endurance for those distances. Both performed beautifully,” Bois said.

Lockheed Martin CDL Systems and Canadian UAVs are two companies that successfully completed BVLOS tests.

Drones That Made Canada’s List

Graphic illustrating line of sight requirements for drones.

The md4-1000 UAV of Microdrones is just one of the few models that were included in Transport Canada’s list of compliant UAVs. Transport Canada is responsible for making regulations, services, and policies of transportation in Canada. Following are other models that made the cut:

  • Skyranger of Aeryon
  • EBee of SenseFly
  • X4ES of Draganfly
  • X4P of Draganfly
  • Guardian of Draganfly
  • Commander of Draganfly
  • Surveyor 630 of Infinit Jib
  • Scout Mk III of Indro Robotics
  • Kespry Drone 1.0 of Kespry Incorporated
  • Indago 2 of Lockheed Martin
  • MD4-1000 of Microdrones Canada Incorporated

Transport Canada is the organization that permitted Microdrones to conduct the BVLOS flight tests.

The drone industry has acquired a well-developed support system from different specialties, enabling it to grow exponentially. The rapidly advancing technology of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles places imaging capabilities in the forefront. Now that this bold innovation is taking off within the market, who knows what more it can offer in the future?


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