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Iris Automation launches Canada Pathfinder Program for BVLOS approvals

February 16, 2021  By Helicopters Staff

Iris Automation of Reno, Nevada, launched the Canada Pathfinder Program, described as an all-in-one solution to streamline the steps required to achieve BVLOS approvals and experience. Under the program, Iris has partnered with two Canadian RPAS (remotely piloted aircraft system) test facilities for support, training and proving BVLOS flight competency, including the Foremost UAS Test Range in Alberta and UAS Center of Excellence (CED) in Alma, Quebec.

“Our primary aim is to advance BVLOS operations in Canada. We look forward to working with Iris Automation to help drone companies move from VLOS to safe BVLOS operations,” said Doug Hanna, GM of Foremost UAS Test Range.

The program includes flight training, assistance gaining BVLOS approvals, a BVLOS safety system, engineering and regulatory support, and test center access. The program is open to any organizations interested in operating BVLOS services inside Canada.

In October, Transport Canada issued the second Special Flight Operations Certificate (SFOC) for Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) flights in uncontrolled airspace utilizing infrastructure masking and Iris Automation’s onboard detect-and-avoid (DAA) solution to MVT Geo-solutions.


Under this SFOC, MVT, the UAS Center of Excellence (CED Alma), and Iris Automation are partnering to conduct commercial missions over linear power lines in Alma, Quebec. Approval was granted to include the utilization of Iris Automation’s DAA system, Casia, which provides commercial drones with automated collision avoidance maneuvers.

Iris Automation already participates in the Federal Aviation Administration’s BEYOND program to advance more complex UAS operations BVLOS in the US National Airspace System.

“We see incredible interest in utilizing commercial drone operations but concerns about how to launch a program safely, efficiently and in compliance with current regulations,” said William De Keiser, Director of the Cluster of Excellence, CED. “Teaming with Iris Automation to provide this complete program will help many companies to finally embrace the potential of drone operations.”

Iris Automation outlines the following benefits of the Canada Pathfinder Program:

• A baseline of pre-requisites needed for achieving BVLOS advanced operations approvals from Transport Canada (TC);

• Expedited issuance of TC Special Flight Operations Certificate (SFOC) for BVLOS flights within test centers;

• Team training and standard procedures on how to perform safe BVLOS operations; and

• The BVLOS flight experience needed to apply for subsequent SFOC approvals.


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