A crawl/walk/run (phased) approach will enable the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) to conduct Beyond Line of Sight (BLOS) flights within urban and complex environments. Three phases implemented via milestone-based standards and supported by data driven safety cases will prove equipment, operator, and mission reliability under Part 107 waivers. Team member experience, to include previously approved waivers/authorization, will help facilitate implementation of phases and progression milestones, as approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Increasingly sophisticated operations will ultimately enable safety-mitigated, BLOS intermodal infrastructure inspection and precision agriculture operations within the state.
LONG LINE LINEAR INFRASTRUCTURE INSPECTION (L312)
PHASE I: FALL 2018-SPRING 2019
KDOT IPP operations are expected to take place under FAA authorization beginning early November 2018 through the Spring of 2019 in the area northwest of Gypsum, Kansas (Knopf Farms) and the surrounding area. KDOT is currently conducting operations over team member Right of Way (ROW) infrastructure and participating agriculture partner-owned land. The goal of these operations is to build a Phase II safety case and collect data on UAS operations for Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) flight. This data will help the FAA and KDOT further UAS integration efforts and meet program objectives. Testing is focused on industry use and testing of current team member capabilities to drive Phase II of the program.
PHASE II: SPRING 2019 - WINTER 2020
Kansas IPP operations will progress from rural, class G airspace into semi-complex urban and controlled airspace areas to be announced near the end of Phase I. Established best practices will advance operations as limitations are reached on Phase I UAS platforms and technology. Phase II will focus on enabling UAS data collection, risk mitigated BVLOS flights, and integrating UAS into urban areas. Team analysis will enable the selection of more suitable aircraft(s) and technology enablers for safe flight within the chosen environment. Additional FAA waivers, authorizations, and exemptions will be sought by Kansas IPP team members to build a Phase III safety case and collect data on BVLOS UAS Operations.
PHASE III: WINTER 2020
Phase III is scheduled to start in early January 2020. Kansas IPP operations will test and identify necessary architecture and technology to help shape future policy and procedures for UAS integration nationwide. Regular statewide operations within FAA authorization are expected to provide regular data enabling risk-mitigated flights leveraging Phase I and II architecture.