October 2019, Vol. 246, No. 10

Drones & Pipelines

Beyond-Visual-Line-of-Sight Drone Inspects Trans-Alaska Pipeline

By Sam Winstel, American Petroleum Institute, Washington, D.C. Researchers at the University of Alaska Fairbanks recently made history by completing the first true beyond-visual-line-of-sight (BVLOS) flight under the small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) rule.  Photo: Sean Tevebaugh/University of Alaska Fairbanks The team flew a long-range hybrid-electric unmanned aircraft nearly 4 miles along the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) as part of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) UAS Integration Pilot Program – and in partnership with Alyeska Pipeline Service Company. This first deployment of an unmanned aircraft with detect-a

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