Days after the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) permitted State governments and academic institutions to apply for "beyond the visual line of sight" (BVLOS) drone operations, the Centre gave permission for the same for the Telangana government's Covid-19 vaccine delivery project. Earlier, the state was only permitted to operate "visual line of sight" (VLOS) drone operations. Under VLOS operations the pilot of the drone has to maintain continuous, unaided visual contact with the unmanned aircraft, whereas under BVLOS drone operations pilots can operate a drone remotely, without the need to continuously be within visual range. Simply put, BVLOS drones are remotely operated as opposed VLOS drones. The state government has also got approval from the Airports Authority of India (AA), and is awaiting final approval from the Ministry of Home Affairs which is conducting a review. The Telangana government plans operations at the end of May or early June, through which drones would be allowed to transport vaccine cold storage boxes equipped with temperature sensors and data loggers to record the performance. The operations which will last 24 days, where in 4 batches would perform sorties for 6 days each. In each batch of 6 days, the initial 2 days would be only doing VLOS flights, followed by BVLOS flights over different distances. Several conditions need to be met for BVLOS On May 7, the Ministry of Civil Aviation issued an order stating that Telangana has been given an exemption under the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Rules 2021 for a period…
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