Commercial

Bristow and Sky-Futures Test Drone, Helicopter Interoperability

By S.L. Fuller | March 28, 2017
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Bristow S92A

Bristow S-92A. Photo courtesy of Bristow

Bristow Group and its unmanned aerial system (UAS) affiliate, Sky-Futures, are one step closer to providing customers with services that use both a manned helicopter and a drone. During a 20-minute exercise in Galliano, Louisiana, a Bristow Sikorsky S-92 and a Sky-Futures drone flew in the same airspace, Bristow said.

During the test, the S-92 hovered 500 feet above ground, while the drone flew toward the helicopter. The drone maintained a horizontal distance 200 feet away. In 100-foot increments, the drone ascended to an altitude of 400 feet agl. S-92 pilots monitored the drone’s position and altitude on an iPad during the entire flight. They did not have actual visual contact with the drone.

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“The successful execution of this interoperability test is an excellent step forward to demonstrate that helicopters and UAVs can operate safely as a complementary service, providing additional opportunities for Bristow and Sky-Futures to jointly offer a higher level of situational awareness for our aircrews, and safe, new and innovative services to commercial and government clients,” said Bristow Group President and CEO Jonathan Baliff.

Through Sky-Futures, Bristow offers inspections via drone. All Sky-Futures drones are equipped with ADS-B when operating offshore.

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