AgEagle Aerial Systems Inc. announced that the Company’s eBee X series of fixed wing unmanned aircraft systems (“UAS”), including the eBee X, eBee GEO and eBee TAC, are the first and only drones on the market to comply with Category 3 of the Operations of Small Unmanned Aircraft System (“sUAS”) Over People rules published in the Federal Register by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”) in March 2021.
Barrett Mooney, Chairman and CEO of AgEagle, stated, “Becoming the first and only UAS approved for OOP in the United States is expected to have material impact on AgEagle’s growth and standing as a recognized leader in the industry. It is another important testament of our commitment to providing best-in-class solutions to our commercial partners, and we are confident that this will serve as a key driver in the growth of eBee utilization in the United States. We believe it will further improve the business applications made possible by our drone platform for a wide range of commercial enterprises which stand to benefit from adoption of drones in their businesses – particularly those in industries such as insurance for assessment of storm damage, telecommunications for network coverage mapping and energy for powerline and pipeline inspections, just to name a few.”
Securing a Part 107 certificate of waiver from the FAA is a long, arduous and costly process for sUAS users. Now that the eBee has proven compliant with Category 3 of the rules, eBee drone operators no longer require an FAA waiver for OOP or Operations Over Moving Vehicles. This major milestone has been achieved by AgEagle following months of work, historic reliability review and extensive testing conducted by Virginia Tech Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership (“MAAP”) based on the Means of Compliance MAAP has developed, and which is accepted as proof of compliance by the FAA.
“Having an aircraft approved to operate over people will fundamentally change the way drone operations can be planned and conducted in the U.S.,” said Tombo Jones, director of the Virginia Tech Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership. “When the FAA published the rule, it identified a clear-cut pathway to a goal that all of us in drone integration have been working towards for a long time; this approval demonstrates that pathway is viable. Our testing reflects years of expertise that we’ve built in evaluating the risk of drone operations, and we’re proud that it could play a role in making this milestone possible.”
This compliance demonstrates yet again that eBees are the drone of choice to conduct advanced operations involving flying Beyond Visual Line of Sight (“BVLOS”) or Operations Over People (“OOP”). The eBee is currently approved for use by the U.S. Department Of Defense pursuant to the Blue sUAS 2.0 program; for BVLOS operations in Brazil; and OOP and BVLOS operations in Canada. It is also the first drone to receive European Union Aviation Safety Agency (“EASA”) C2 certification and a Design Verification essential for this kind of operations from EASA.
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