Blue-Chip UAS FAA exemption spans across multiple industries

By Emily Aasand | March 04, 2015

Blue-Chip Unmanned Aerial Solutions is the latest company to join the growing list of U.S. Federal Aviation Administration unmanned aircraft system exemptions after receiving a nod to use UAS to provide services across the oil and gas, wildlife, agriculture and aerial photography industries.

“We are excited by the FAA’s decision,” said Clint Stevens, executive director and co-founder, Blue-Chip UAS. “It enables us to leverage our expertise in the UAS industry and integrate the technology to benefit multiple commercial markets.”

With this exemption, Blue-Chip UAS is able to have flight operations within 5 nautical miles (NM) of any airport or airfield inside Class E airspace with an approved certificate of authorization, airport manager approval and issuance of a Notice to Airmen.

“The fact we are approved to operate inside 5NM truly shows the FAA’s willingness to continue moving forward with the integration process,” said Stevens. “This provides our company with a significant opportunity, as it dramatically increases our operational area.”

Blue-Chip UAS will be using the Sensurion Magpie UAS to provide consulting and service solutions across multiple industries.

“What’s unique about this aircraft is that it’s the first FAA certified through its special airworthiness certificate, which they accomplished in conjunction with Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems test site,” said Stevens. “We felt that was the aircraft to stay with based on the certification. We can go to our insurance companies, for example, with a certified aircraft, with certified pilots and now with the authorization to conduct theses operations under this exemption.” 

On the consulting solutions side, Blue-Chip UAS will go in, analyze an organization’s needs and build a program—which the company can decide whether to keep in-house or outsource it to Blue-Chip UAS through its services business. Blue-Chip UAS then helps each company find the type of aircraft that would best suit its needs.

Blue-Chip is prominent in the oil and gas industry right now, utilizing the Magpie to gain seismic collation data for oil and gas exploration.

“We also have a client that we’re working with to monitor infrastructure—looking at wellheads, oil pumps and pipelines—to look at some of the efficiencies,” said Stevens. 

“With the approved exemption in hand, Blue-Chip UAS is now poised to move to market,” said James Burns, technology director and co-founder. “This approval enables us to build a solid operational model and employ the Magpie, not only within oil and gas but in several other industries as well. We intend to build on that model and integrate swappable sensor payloads to meet any requirement our customers may have.”


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