Grand Sky selects VirtualAirBoss to manage UAS flight operations

By Patrick C. Miller | July 21, 2015

Although construction recently began on the Grand Sky unmanned aerial systems (UAS) business and aviation park next to the Grand Forks (North Dakota) Air Force Base, a decision on how flight operations will be managed has already been made.

Thomas Swoyer, president of Grand Sky Development Co., said Grand Sky has chosen the browser-based VirtualAirBoss software system designed by Smart C2 to help manage UAS flights from the facility, noting that it meets safety and reporting goals and can be integrated with NASA’s UAS Traffic Management (UTM) system.

“We are establishing a new home base for small, medium and large unmanned aircraft in the U.S., and now that we’ve started construction on the UAS Park, we wanted to start flying right away to document the work in progress,” Swoyer said. “SmartC2 will help us get up and running on the VirtualAirBoss in 24 hours.”

Stuart Rudolph, president and CEO of Grand Forks-based SmartC2, said VirtualAirBoss is designed to securely manage complex aviation business operations and give users the ability to instantly access safety plans.

“Users want a solution that is intuitive, but gets a complicated job done right,” he said. “In a single VirtualAirBoss site, you can handle many different aircraft—manned, unmanned, small, large, optionally piloted.”

Grand Sky has agreed to participate in NASA’s UTM beta testing, which means that multiple, simultaneous flights from the facility’s airfield will provide flight data to help the agency further develop its system to manage UAS air traffic nationally.

“We believe that capturing the information you’ll need later for compliance reports and reimbursements should derive organically from your workflow,” Rudolph said. “We configured VAB to guide the user through the process so the next step is intuitively obvious.”

Stuart said that because safety is a prime concern for both the Air Force and Grand Sky, the ability of all users to instantly access safety plans makes VirtualAirBoss a good choice in achieving Grand Sky’s goals for airfield safety.

“With VAB we have detailed accountability, and we can easily create whatever reports we need,” Swoyer said. “They (Smart C2) have automated many tedious administrative tasks like COA reporting. It’s easy to use and VirtualAirBoss delivers the information we need to run a smooth operation.”


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