Longest BVLOS Rail Inspection Flight in Canadian History

  • Proving the efficiencies of aerial rail inspection using BVLOS.
  • Key partnerships with Transport Canada, Telus and Spexi Geospatial added to the success of this historic flight.
  • FLYsafe and SKYlink showcased during the mission.

On a sunny morning on March 23, 2022, the team at AIRmarket flew a historic mission showcasing the longest BVLOS aerial inspection of a rail line conducted in Canada.  Guests from Transport Canada, three rail companies, and various industry partners were in attendance. Additionally, the flight was live-streamed during the 90 minutes of the mission to participants all over the world.  Industry drone experts ranging from industries in energy, to mining, to telecommunications were online to view the telemetry and progress of this historic flight.

The Deltaquad drone flew a total of 130 km, capturing over 6,500 photos of two rail lines. The data was then collated, annotated and presented to Transport Canada.

Various inspectors and industry specialists from Transport Canada attended the event in order to confirm the processes set in place to ensure the safety and efficiency of the mission.

This information is critical to the ongoing activities that AIRmarket is deploying in order to work with Transport Canada to  develop BVLOS standards and regulations for Canadian airspace.  

During the live-streaming of the event, participants could see the remote pilot, Cale Griffith, located 30 km away from the launch site, in our Operation Command Center.  Visual Observers were situated in key locations along the route to ensure flight safety and reporting.  The co-pilot, David Kinniburgh, monitored the Deltaquad and conducted the battery exchange and turnaround at key points of the mission.

The team at the launch site are waiting and ready to go. 

During the flight, live visuals were being streamed to participants around the world. At the launch site, participants were able to watch the progress via screens set up inside the flight office shown above. 

“The Transport Canada Rail demonstration provides a very clear signal to Canadian RPAS sector”, says Lindsay Mohr,  AIRmarket Founder and CEO), “UTM Services are an enabler for BVLOS operations and there is strong industry demand for linear inspection services” 

This historic flight was a demonstration of the current technologies in place, proving out how remote sensing data can be collected within a BVLOS drone operation. The mission on March 23 is a result of a contract provided by Transport Canada Ventures in partnership with Spexi Geospatial of Vancouver. It showcased the intricacies of managing several technologies in order to work together to provide high quality visual data that can be used for inspection and maintenance purposes.  

Additionally,  working together with Telus, known for having Canada’s largest and fastest telecommunications network, AIRmarket successfully demonstrated the use of cellular data connected in real time with UTM flight services. AIRmarket utilizes the ground-based surveillance hardware deployed on TELUS infrastructure to conduct airspace surveillance of crewed aviation.  This partnership enables an  internallational proven & deployed solution integrated with our SKYLINK UTM platform. The TELUS and AIRmarket relationship provides the agility and resources required to establish UTM services in a nascent industry. 

This historic flight was part of many more missions to come where AIRmarket will demonstrate the integration of the safe use of air traffic control for drones, with telecommunications, and artificial intelligence, to provide valuable aerial inspections using BVLOS aircraft.  With these technologies aligned together, AIRmarket can offer a wide range of possibilities for remote and autonomous operations. 

Related Post

Leave a Comment