Echodyne EchoFlight Radar Integrated Into American Aerospace Technologies Inc.’s Newly FAA-Approved BVLOS Unmanned Aircraft

Echodyne MESA® radar technology integral to first-of-its-kind FAA Approval of AATI’s AiRanger for BVLOS flight

FAA-approved BVLOS unmanned aircraft

Kirkland, WA, — May 15, 2024 — Echodyne, the radar platform company, is pleased to announce its EchoFlight radar is integrated into the American Aerospace Technologies, Inc. (AATI) AiRanger aircraft, which obtained a waiver from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) last week for commercial Beyond Visual Line-of-Sight (BVLOS) flight operations. The waiver permits AATI to use the onboard detect-and-avoid (DAA) system for adhering to aircraft right-of-way rules during BVLOS operations, making the AiRanger the first unmanned aircraft system (UAS) to meet industry consensus standards for the DAA system. 

This approval marks a major milestone for the unmanned aviation industry as a whole and is the culmination of concerted efforts over many years from a diverse array of technology partners and regulatory bodies to safely bring a next-generation, first-of-kind BVLOS aircraft into commercial operation. The level of rigor and evaluation for such a feat is not to be understated, as this process required regulatory agencies to review new, emerging technologies that had never come into their assessment purview before.

In addition, the complex and cutting-edge aviation navigation technologies underpinning the AiRanger aircraft had not previously been integrated into one, singular system. The scale of the achievement is highlighted by how the AiRanger is able to rely on such advanced technologies to assist with remotely piloted concepts of operation (ConOps) across the full spectrum – human on the loop, human in the loop (semi-autonomous), and human out of the loop (fully autonomous).

“With the granting of the FAA waiver, it showcases how this entire process has been truly a multi-party collaborative endeavor and AATI is grateful to Echodyne for their steadfast and exceptional support throughout the multi-year effort,” said David Yoel, CEO at American Aerospace Technologies, Inc. 

“Echodyne’s EchoFlight radar provides unparalleled data fidelity and precision, and this first-of-its-kind waiver is evidence of radar’s role in providing the situational awareness necessary for successful detect-and-avoid systems.” 

AATI's AiRanger for BVLOS flight

The FAA approval allows AATI’s AiRanger – a 220-pound aircraft capable of flying for 12 hours and up to 750 miles at altitudes to 12,000’ MSL – to conduct commercial operations at medium altitudes under Visual Flight Rules (VFR) beyond the pilot’s line of sight and without airborne or ground observers. The AiRanger’s initial deployment will be for critical infrastructure patrol, threat detection and reporting, focusing on pipeline surveillance. The operation is vital for maintaining pipeline integrity and safety, and ensuring quick response to potential hazards or leaks. 

While many stakeholders had to come together to drive this innovation to market, the achievement underscores the essential role that radar plays in the commercialization of such aircraft operations – providing foundational situational awareness data to search, detect, and track volumes of airspace for both cooperative and non-cooperative aircraft. EchoFlight is integrated into a pod on each wing of the AiRanger aircraft, providing the necessary visibility to meet minimum operational performance standards (MOPS). The detection and tracking ranges provided by EchoFlight provide the DAA system with sufficient time and information to take avoidance measures and maintain operational safety. 

“As all stakeholders in the unmanned aviation industry are aware, it takes a village to develop such a complex aviation navigation system that receives regulatory approval,” said Eben Frankenberg, CEO at Echodyne. “The integration of our EchoFlight radar into the AiRanger is one critical piece of many in the puzzle to create the safety case for BVLOS flight operation. We’re ecstatic to share in this milestone industry moment and are proud to see the value of radar realized in the commercialization of BVLOS operations.”


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