Fox News Story: AviSight Using Drones for Cloud Seeding

 

Drones are used for aerial photography, surveillance, news coverage, and rescue operations. Now a group of scientists and researchers are figuring out if drones can make it rain. The science is called cloud seeding, and it is being tested in Nevada at an FAA site, four hours north of Las Vegas.

Seeding clouds involves releasing flares of silver iodide from a plane’s wing to generate more ice particles in a cloud. This aims to help a cloud’s ability to produce and enhance precipitation. The weather conditions need to be right for this to take place–cloud cover and even the presence of storms are optimal.

The process has been around for decades and usually involves a piloted aircraft flying into a storm. Now, The Nevada Institute of Autonomous Systems in conjunction with the Desert Research Institute has conducted tests with unmanned drones. They hope to have drones conduct cloud seeding flights in the future. The Governor of Nevada’s office has helped fund the project.

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AviSight Works With Nevada Agencies on Historic Beyond Line of Sight Drone Cloud-seeding Flight

HAWTHORNE, Nev., Feb. 22, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — The Nevada Drone Industry set a new long-distance record for aerial package delivery flying a fixed-wing Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) under beyond line of sight conditions.  The backdrop was an urban environment set among the scenic area of Walker Lake with the Nevada-headquartered Drone America flight team flying more than 39 miles to deliver a package to the Hawthorne Industrial Airport in the City of Hawthorne, Nevada, the same town where the Country’s first urban drone delivery was performed in Spring of 2016.

 

This record-setting beyond line of sight (BLOS) mission was flown under the Nevada UAS Test Site’s FAA Certificate of Authorization (COA) and led by the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems, which manages the FAA-designated Nevada UAS Test Site on behalf of the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED).  The Drone America Savant™ unmanned aircraft reached an altitude of 1,500 feet AGL and completed a one hour flight beyond line of sight for a total distance flown of over 39 miles on February 15, 2017.

“Nevada’s emerging UAV industry has made tremendous strides since first receiving the FAA UAS Test Site designation a few short years ago, and it is with incredible pride that the State can now declare that our drone effort has broken an industry record by successfully completing the longest ever beyond visual line of sight drone delivery,” said Governor Brian Sandoval.  “This achievement is a testament not only to the skill of the team at the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems and Drone America, but also the support that has been shown by the entire State of Nevada to support this important initiative.  Nevada is changing the future of transportation, and I congratulate all those Nevadans who share in this milestone – this is one for the record books.”

“Statewide support of the drone industry in Nevada has helped to usher in this historic UAV milestone,” said Steve Hill, Director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development. “With each flight, NIAS makes history, but this most recent achievement is truly one for the ages, and something that we should all be incredibly proud of.  I thank the teams at NIAS and Drone America for ensuring that Nevada continues to lead one of the most innovative transportation industries into the future.”

“Today we demonstrated an important milestone, one that can make a positive impact upon humanity.  For many years Drone America’s team has been focused upon building turnkey solutions that are both commercially viable yet also have a beneficial effect upon the world in which we live.  Remote critical package delivery can include such items as medical equipment (AED) and supplies such as vaccines, EpiPens, anti-venom, even a Search and Rescue survival package.  These achievements bring us closer to becoming a self-sustaining, Nevada-based, and American-made corporation that gives back,” said Mike Richards, CEO and Founder of Drone America.

The Drone America Savant UAS delivered the package to the Hawthorne Industrial Airport and the cargo consisted of emergency supplies in a simulated lost hiker scenario.  The package was not dropped from the UAV but instead was meant to be recovered from the hold of the fixed-wing platform upon landing.  The UAS operation incorporated multiple ground safety visual observers and an aerial safety observer in a Cessna 206 fixed-wing aircraft flown by AviSight.  “We were thrilled to participate in this historic event.  The ability to fly these systems BLOS will be critical to the commercialization of this technology for multiple industries,” said Michael Frechette, CEO of AviSight.

“The Nevada UAS Test Site is fortunate to have the City of Hawthorne and the Hawthorne Army Depot’s support of our Nevada UAS Industry Growth.  This is a great example of public-private partnership between the U.S. Army, Drone America, the City of Hawthorne, and NIAS,” said Mark Barker, Director of Business Development and Marketing for NIAS.

Following the historic package delivery BLOS flight, Drone America CEO, Mike Richards presented the package flown to the FAA-designated Nevada UAS Test Site Director, Dr. Chris Walach, overseeing the UAS operation.  Walach received this package on behalf of the State of Nevada.  “Today was a new long distance flight record in Nevada and in the National Airspace.  From last year, Nevada holds the FAA record for the first package delivery to an actual customer in a residential neighborhood in Reno, NV and in the National Airspace and now we have demonstrated that commercial UAS technology is capable of flying long distance while safely integrating UAS into the National Airspace with manned aviation traffic.  We are a major step closer to commercial package delivery on a large scale in Nevada and in the National Airspace,” said Dr. Chris Walach.

About the Governor’s Office of Economic Development:Created during the 2011 session of the Nevada Legislature, the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) is the result of a collaborative effort between the Nevada Legislature and Governor Brian Sandoval to restructure economic development in the state. GOED’s role is to promote a robust, diversified and prosperous economy in Nevada, to stimulate business expansion and retention, encourage entrepreneurial enterprise, attract new businesses and facilitate community development. More information on the Governor’s Office of Economic Development can be viewed atwww.diversifynevada.com.

About the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems (NIAS): The Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems (NIAS) and FAA-designated Nevada Unmanned Aviation Test Site leads the growth of the Nevada Unmanned Aviation Systems (UAS) Industry through business teaming relationships, collaborating with primary research institutions on UAS research and development, and enhancing the Nevada UAS Industry knowledge base to attract new and permanent business and create jobs in the State of Nevada.  Learn more at www.nias-uas.com.

About AviSight: AviSight is an aerospace and remote sensing services company based in Las Vegas, Nevada. Our company employs Aerospace systems, Remote Sensing technology, Analytics, and Data Collection/Distribution systems for commercial and government clients. For more information about AviSight please visit www.avisight.com/.

About Drone America: Drone America strives to be one of the World’s Top Providers of Autonomous Unmanned Vehicles, high tech equipment and services. Our mission is to use UAS technologies as a means to survey, protect, and preserve human life and strategic resources around the Globe. For more information about Drone America please visit  www.droneamerica.com/.

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To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/nevada-based-consortium-using-drone-america-uav-completes-first-long-distance-beyond-line-of-sight-urban-package-delivery-300412223.html

AviSight Drone Academy Announces Summer Schedule

AviSight, the nation’s premier drone services company, has announced its upcoming AviSight Drone Academy training class.

The next course will take place June 28-July 1, 2016 at the South Point Hotel Casino, Las Vegas, NV.

The course includes modules on current regulations, airspace requirements, flight operations, maintenance, sensors, power systems, and all other aspects of drone operations. Classes range from 1 to 4 day courses.

The 1-Day Course is for the Beginner/Hobbyist.

The 2-Day Course is for the Professional/Small Business operator.

The 4-Day Course is for those who wish to become a Drone Master. Both the Professional and Drone Master courses focus on the anticipated FAA Part 107 regulations.

“This is a great opportunity for those wanting to learn this exciting new industry from the best in the business, said Lt. Colonel (Ret.) James Fleitz, Co-Founder of AviSight. “Knowing FAA rules is critical and we make sure our students understand those rules, along with the mechanics of flight,” he added.

The expert AviSight Drone Academy staff includes professionals with diverse backgrounds that include Emmy Award winning television/news professionals, film industry experts, public safety experts, and pioneers of military drone operations. When students complete the course they will receive an official AviSight Drone Academy certificate.

Additional Classes will also be held later this summer – July 26-July 29 and August 23-August 26, 2016. You can visit AviSightDroneAcademy.com for more information — or you can CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP.

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About AviSight: AviSight is an aerospace and remote sensing services company based in Las Vegas, Nevada. Our company employs Aerospace systems, Remote Sensing technology, Analytics, and Data Collection/Distribution systems for commercial and government clients. For more information about AviSight please visit – http://avisight.com/

AviSight Part of Historic Drone Flight in Nevada

RENO – For the first time in aviation history, a fixed-wing unmanned aircraft has successfully tested a cloud-seeding payload during an experimental flight in Nevada.

Flown at Hawthorne Industrial Airport under the state’s FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Test Site designation, the Drone America Savant™ aircraft reached an altitude of 400 feet and flew for approximately 18 minutes on Friday, April 29, 2016.

The Savant™ aircraft – named the “Sandoval Silver State Seeder” in honor of Governor Brian Sandoval’s dedication to the success of the state’s UAS industry – deployed two silver-iodide flares, successfully testing and demonstrating its ability to perform unmanned aerial cloud seeding operations.

“This is a tremendous accomplishment for the state of Nevada and everyone involved,” said the project’s lead scientist, Adam Watts, Ph.D., an assistant research professor at DRI and an expert in UAS applications for ecological and natural-resources applications.

Led by the Desert Research Institute (DRI), and supported by the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development through the Knowledge Fund, this first-of-its-kind project is helping Nevada address the ongoing impacts of drought and explore innovative solutions for natural-resource challenges such as augmenting regional water supplies. The research team combines more than 30 years of weather modification research and expertise at DRI with the proven experience in aerospace manufacturing and flight operations of Reno-based Drone America, and the industry leading unmanned aerial data services of Las Vegas-based AviSight.
“We have reached another major milestone in our effort to reduce both the risks and the costs in the cloud seeding industry and help mitigate natural disasters caused by drought, hail and extreme fog,” said Mike Richards, President and CEO of Drone America. “With a wingspan of 11-feet, 10-inches and its light weight design (less than 55 pounds) the Savant™ is the perfect vehicle to conduct this type of operation due to its superior flight profile, long flight times and its resistance to wind and adverse weather conditions.”

Drone America performed the test flight under an FAA agreement in partnership with the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems (NIAS). This flight was the first use by DRI of the Nevada Test Site’s Certificate of Authorization (COA), which grants authority to operate the Savant™ at altitudes up to 1,200 feet.

“The Nevada-based research and flight teams that produced these trend-setting results are clearly leading the industry with this innovative technology. Conducting this unmanned cloud seeding test flight is a first flying in the National Airspace System and in Nevada,” said Dr. Chris Walach, Director for the FAA-designated Nevada Unmanned Aviation Test Site.

AviSight performed aerial support for the test flight with their manned aircraft, recording both infrared and HD video of the flight to support future system refinements and plans to conduct UAS flights beyond visual line-of-sight

“This is an important step for Nevada and the unmanned aerial industry,” said James Fleitz, co-founder of AviSight. “This collaborative effort highlights the diverse applications of unmanned systems and showcased the ability of this technology to support scientific advancements.”

Together with Drone America and AviSight, DRI researchers plan to create weather forecasts and conduct flight planning for manned and unmanned aircraft; conduct tests of cloud seeding operations using manned and unmanned systems as well as existing ground generators; and estimate the effectiveness of UAS cloud seeding applications across DRI’s current Lake Tahoe Basin operations area.

AviSight is First to Fly FAA Approved Drone At Airshow

A joint collaboration between AviSight and WDRB-TV in Louisville, KY. The Thunder Over Louisville airshow is the weekend before the Kentucky Derby and was broadcast live on WDRB, titled “Thunder on WDRB.” This multi-hour live broadcast featured many reporters and cameras all along the Ohio River covering the event from many angles. After months of coordination with the Louisville FAA FSDO Office, we were granted authorization to fly our UAS (Drone) under the airshow’s COW (Certificate of Waiver).

These UAS flights gave WDRB-TV an unprecedented aerial view of the crowds coming to Thunder along with the Louisville skyline. In addition, WDRB-TV reporters were able to take live UAS video and cut to it during their live shots in the field. UAS flights were conducted under FAA 333 exemption rules and standards. 2-way radio communication was established to local air traffic control (air show – air boss) through VHF airband radios and with a communications officer in the command center. This facilitated immediate contact to the UAS for take off and landing clearances.

Because this was a successful deployment of UAS inside the congested airspace of an airshow, we hope this will be used by the FAA as a model for future UAS operations at airshows nationwide.

Metro Police Use AviSight for Aerial Surveillance

Fireworks explode over the Las Vegas Strip just after midnight Monday, January 1, 2002. The photo is taken looking north at the south end of The Strip from the top of the Mandalay Bay hotel-casino. An estimated 282,000 visitors came to Las Vegas to celebrate the New Year. STEVE MARCUS / LAS VEGAS SUN

Rather than try to keep up with the cost of technology on its own, Metro will be outsourcing at least one key operation for big events in Las Vegas.

Metro’s Fiscal Affairs Committee on Monday approved a one-year contract with AviSight, a company based in Las Vegas, worth approximately $60,000.

According to Metro Deputy Chief of Homeland Security Patrick Neville, AviSight will provide the department with aerial video recording on big events, such as New Year’s Eve. For years, Metro’s Air Support Unit has flown helicopters with cameras attached to give police a view of what was happening in a massive crowd.

Typically, Neville said, police departments buy the cameras, train their employees on how to use them and pay for the upkeep on the equipment. But with camera technology constantly and rapidly evolving, Neville said it became cost-prohibitive for Metro to keep up.

Now, AviSight will instead fly a small airplane — a Cessna 206 — for Las Vegas police and provide them with real-time video feedback for those large-scale events.

By outsourcing the work, Neville said, the department should save money in the future simply by not having to upgrade or buy new equipment, as well as by eliminating the need to use the Air Support Unit for those big events.

AviSight’s cameras already far outpace Metro’s current equipment, Neville said, bringing better-quality high-definition cameras with the ability to record in extremely low light as well as infrared sensors that could be utilized in cases of hikers who get lost or stranded during storms on Mount Charleston.

And while Metro will use the company’s small plane for the near future, Neville said, the eventual plan is to use AviSight’s drones to further streamline the process. But that won’t happen until the Federal Aviation Administration releases its regulations on larger drones, such as Predators and Global Hawks, which the company said could take three to five years.

“It’s high technology, high training and high maintenance,” Neville said. “The technology they are able to bring forth is outstanding in my opinion.”

– See more at: http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/las-vegas/metro-outsource-aerial-video-big-events#sthash.88vo4PLb.dpuf

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