Colorado airline firm adds UAS to service offerings

By Luke Geiver | March 17, 2016

A Colorado-based private airline management and charter company has expanded into the unmanned aircraft systems industry. Mountain Aviation has announced it received a U.S. Federal Aviation Administration section 333 exemption to commercially operate UAVs through services tied to aerial mapping, agriculture support, industrial inspections, aerial video, search and rescue, energy system inspections and forestry monitoring.

Gregg Fahrenbruch, CEO of Mountain Aviation, said the company is exicted to bring its safety protocols and aerospace knowledge to its UAS clients. “We’re certain the impeccable safety record we’ve earned in our private jet business will set the bar for reliable and safe drone operations in the commercial and industrial sectors,” adding that, “as an air carrier with full global operating authority we have the ability to serve clients both domestically and overseas.”

Other entities in the emerging UAS industry have become active in the private airline and airport space. Earlier this year, Connecticut-based aerospace services major, PASSUR, announced the release of a drone-traffic management software option.

Griffiss International Airport houses the operations for the FAA-selected UAS test site in the state of New York. Grand Sky, a commercial UAS technology park that includes access to a major runway is currently the only operating UAS-focused airpark offering in the U.S.

The Air Line Pilots Association has made its stance of integrating UAS into the national air space clear in the past 12 months. Last year the ALPA issued a white paper on UAS and the NAS that said, “we must not allow pressure to rapidly integrate UAS into the NAS to rush a process that must be solely focused on safety.”