Northern Plains UAS Test Site blazes trail for UAS flights over people with third-party parachute validation

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The Northern Plains UAS Test Site (NP UAS TS) provided third-party validation to a UAS parachute recovery system which has been used to successfully acquire a 14 CFR Part 107.39(a) waiver from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) permitting flights over people.

This third-party validation was provided for ParaZero’s SafeAir Mavic, a smart parachute system that monitors UAS flight in real time, identifies critical failures, and autonomously triggers a parachute. As the third-party testing agency, the NP UAS TS verified over 45 aerial deployment tests in various failure scenarios in accordance with the ASTM Standard Specification for Small Unmanned Aircraft System Parachutes F3322-18. Compliance with this ASTM standard specification is designed to support an applicant in obtaining a waiver from the FAA for operations of people.

The North Dakota Department of Transportation was the first organization to receive a waiver using the third-party validated SafeAir Mavic parachute.  

“What’s so exciting is that there is now a clear path of getting a waiver for UAS flights over people,” according to Nicholas Flom, Executive Director of the NP UAS TS. “Now anyone with a DJI Mavic 2 can order a parachute and submit a waiver to fly over people. That was practically unheard of, until now.”

The process of acquiring a 14 CFR Part 107.39(a) waiver is both repeatable and scalable. In the role as a third-party testing agency, the NP UAS TS is a key part of providing a clear path to receiving a complex waiver. The success of not only testing the parachute, but also seeing the validation accepted in securing a waiver, establishes the NPUASTS as the premier third-party testing agency for validation of the ASTM standard for other parachute recovery systems.

About the Northern Plains UAS Test Site

The Northern Plains UAS Test Site is one of seven Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) UAS test sites in the nation. The mission of the NPUASTS is to collaborate with FAA and industry partners to develop systems, rules, and procedures to safely integrate unmanned aircraft into the National Airspace System without negatively impacting existing general or commercial aviation.

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