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22 June 2022
SAFIR-Med obtained the first BVLOS flight authorisation above populated area in Europe: The flights in Antwerp 

On the 17th of June the Operational Authorisation for Helicus to operate true Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) drone flights in populated (urban) environment was granted.

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The Civil Aviation Authorities validated the Helicus processes and technologies as robust, in three areas:  
1) Combined mitigations to reduce the risk for people on the ground and in the air 
2) Risk mitigation based on the SABCA designed X-8 multicopter with an integrated parachute, fully compliant with the flight test requirements specified in the ASTM F3322-18 Standard Specification 
3) Robust ground organisation, emergency response plan (ERP) 
Being also part of the HAI-SCS project, the authorisation was prepared in parallel with the creation of the new EASA UAS regulation, and requests were submitted right after it came into effect, in the beginning of the SAFIR-Med project. On the 21st of June 2022,  the SAFIR-Med project, performed the first ever SORA compliant BVLOS transportation flight over populated area, under the new EASA UAS regulations, in collaboration to the projects medical partners.

This authorisation will support SAFIR-Med Demos between MAHHL cities.  More broadly, these steps will inspire and thereby greatly benefit the development and implementation of sustainable medical flights at a EU wide level. The SAFIR-Med U-space partners are preparing the next phase to complement our authorization with scalable air risk mitigation measures. 

None of this would be possible without the support of SESAR 3 Joint Undertaking, the Belgian aviation authority, the involved hospitals and the project partners. Watch the video of this European first here: 

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