DRI, Drone America record longest unmanned, cross-country drone flight in Nevada history

Flown at Hawthorne Industrial Airport under Nevada UAS test sites Certificate of Authorization (COA) and led by the Desert Research Institute (DRI) flight operations node, the Drone America Savant unmanned cloud-seeding aircraft reached an altitude of 1,500 feet and completed a one-hour beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) flight covering a total distance of 28 nautical miles, the DRI said.

The test flight of the Savant cloud-seeding aircraft was the longest unmanned, cross-country round-trip flight in Nevada history. BVLOS describes an aviation event in which the unmanned aircraft flies autonomously over a long distance. Flight crew members control and track the aircraft in real-time using computer-aided controls, but the pilot is not capable of visually following the aircraft during flight with the naked eye.

For more than a year a DRI-led research team, supported by the Nevada Governor´s Office of Economic Development through the Knowledge Fund, has been working to develop an unmanned cloud seeding aircraft capable of enhancing snowfall in mountainous regions of the West.

Desert Research Institute is the nonprofit research arm of the Nevada System of Higher Education.

Drone America´s mission is to use UAS technologies as a means to survey, protect, and preserve human life and strategic resources around the globe.