back to article Brit drone biz Sensat notches up 29km remote-control flight

A Brit drone firm has made a 29km beyond visual line-of-sight (BVLOS) flight, a small but important step for fuller commercialisation of the tech. Operating under a special dispensation from the Civil Aviation Authority, Sensat flew its craft – a conventional layout small unmanned aeroplane – around its 29km course, during …

  1. Ima Ballsy

    Well .....

    I am really getting tire of these articles. They seem to DRONE on and on ....

    1. Anonymous Coward Silver badge

      Re: Well .....

      Are you not even REMOTELY compelled to keep reading?

      Although I must admit that there has been quite a BATTERY of them recently.

  2. Andy 73

    More please

    To see real innovation in this space, we need to work on enabling BVLOS flights as simply as possible. It's good to see that a single flight has been possible, but rather points out how slow progress is in this area that we've been technically able to carry out such missions for quite some time now.

    1. Grikath

      Re: More please

      "we" already could in the 80's. Plenty of peeps who experimented with BLoS once the concept of "cruise missile" became apparent.

      Sometimes we seem to want to re-invent the wheel, it seems.

    2. TheRoach

      Re: More please

      We're flying Parrot Discos over 4G. I've seen 60km flights.

  3. Lusty

    We need to make it harder, not easier, for Amazon and the like to deliver low quality tat around the globe. Convenience and low cost are lovely in the short term, but all that crap has to go somewhere once the initial excitement wears off, and we've only got the one planet.

    Sorry, I don't normally rant like a hippie. It's just that drones already annoy me buzzing around and fleets of them carrying plastic crap doesn't feel like a future I want to be a part of :(

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Maybe the Amazon drones will be Chinese copies and fall apart over time.

    2. MyffyW Silver badge

      plastic crap

      @Lusty - Honestly, I never set out to be a hippie, being firmly convinced that a good support bra was one of the many benefits of civilisation. But latterly as my children and significant other seem to be getting suckered into a spiral of buy-replace-dispose for every aspect of their lives I've become one. And it feels good ...

  4. Tom 38 Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Love the sub title

    Personally I don't like the idea of Amazon Paveway!

    1. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

      Re: Love the sub title

      I'm more of a eBay Hellfire man myself. Much less likely to annoy the neighbours when it gets dropped off.

      1. Michael Habel Silver badge

        Re: Love the sub title

        @ Tom 38, and Sgt_Oddbal

        You are both doing it wrong ya gotta respect the old skool tech.l

        1. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

          Re: Love the sub title

          But that would only deliver it to the same borough as you, I demand modern convenience of having heavy munitions dropped direct to my door.

          Come one, admit it.. no one wants to go to the post office to collect a V1 because you were out.

  5. Chris Holford

    only 29km?

    A model aircraft flew across the Atlantic several years ago!

    1. Chozo

      Re: only 29km?

      Wasn't there somebody at DEFCON a few years back doing citywide wifi sniffing with a model aircraft controlled over the 3G phone network...

  6. dnicholas Bronze badge

    Such innovation

    In the hobbyist world people have been doing this for years, albeit without permission. You can buy all the kit you need to achieve this sort of feat (and much more tbh) from hobbyking and adafruit.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Such innovation

      True, but that's the hobbyist world. In the profit oriented world, they have to follow certain rules (not all the time but for this, yes). Once the regulators are satisfied, then the sky can be filled with wonderful drones doing deliveries and checking on the neighborhood for law enforcement, etc. without human intervention. Need I mention that having a meatsack monitoring every flight would cost money... err... profit?

  7. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Up

    Indeed. It's the ability to do it *legally*

    Which (IANL) seems to be quite a big step forward.

    This would also be quite an enabler for landing and take off of the REL Skylon concept.

  8. notowenwilson

    These guys have been delivering blood and other medical products, by drone, over ranges up to 80km for years now...

    Impressive stuff.

  9. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

    I see that...

    ...the comments are full of people pointing out that this sort of thing is routine for aeromodellers, and has been for some time. Do you remember the Richard May autonomous glider flight to Lundy several years ago?

    They did the first Channel crossing by an unmanned radio controlled aircraft in 1954, This sort of thing is no longer news, no matter how many press releases are sent out by proud project managers....

  10. andy gibson

    hot air balloons

    Amazon need to go really old school - hot air balloons with parachutes attached to the parcels. I'd happily drift around the district all day dropping stuff by 'chute.

    1. MyffyW Silver badge

      Alte Schule

      Zeppelins are the real answer, nicht wahr?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    short range cruise missiles

    What could go wrong?

  12. SkippyBing Silver badge


    At 500' the aircraft was theoretically visible up to 27 miles away, so I'm not sure it really counts as BVLOS.

  13. a well wisher

    "It is also important to highlight that flying at below 500ft kept the Sensat drone well outside the hugely complex airspace restrictions over East Sussex, which includes the approaches to Gatwick Airport."

    How ? - is the Gatwick runway above 500ft ?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Only 29km?

    Parrot Discos are being flow 60+km over 4G. 29km - meh.

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