The BEYOND program at Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma (CNO) is a follow-on effort to the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Integration Pilot Program (IPP). In this new program, CNO will continue its partnership with the FAA and other industry partners to safely test and validate advanced operations for drones. BEYOND will address specific challenges remaining at the closure of the UASIPP. The FAA BEYOND program will focus on:
- The steps necessary to facilitate scalable, reputable and economically feasible Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) operations;
- Collection, measurement and response efforts for community feedback related to UAS operations; and,
- The quantification and measurement of societal and economic impact of various UAS operations.
The Choctaw Nation has accomplished many milestones in the UAS IPP and the BEYOND program, including some historic activities. For example, the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma was recognized by the FAA as a “Public Aircraft Operator” (PAO) in the summer of 2019. This is the first time that a tribe has been recognized as a PAO, and this recognition and designation brings considerable regulatory benefits to the tribe.
The CNO Advanced Technology Initiatives team has also accomplished many advanced drone operations, testified before Congress, been highlighted in many articles in the press including Fortune Magazine, Forbes, USA Today, Fox News, and many other local, state, and national news outlets, and participated in the FAA’s BVLOS Aviation Rulemaking Committee.