Verizon Flight Department Earns IS-BAO Certification for UAS Operations

Oct. 3, 2022

The unmanned aircraft system (UAS) branch of telecommunications provider Verizon’s flight department recently became the first such operation to be registered under the International Standards for Business Aviation Operations (IS-BAO) Remote Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) program.

Now in the beta testing phase, RPAS was developed by the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC) and may be added by existing IS-BAO flight departments that fly drones or standalone UAS operators seeking IS-BAO registration.

Verizon’s flight department is the first to achieve the IS-BAO registration for its UAS operations, and only the second drone operator in the U.S. to be registered under RPAS. IS-BAO Director for IBAC Andrew Karas cited the importance of earning accreditation to validate the safety of the company’s UAS operations.

“The IS-BAO framework is a proven model demonstrating the safety and efficiency of a company’s flight operation,” he said. “Registration under RPAS illustrates to stakeholders and the public their commitment to maintain operational safety.”

Verizon has logged more than 17,000 UAS flights since 2016, according to the company, for tasks such as infrastructure imaging and inspection and assisting crews with restoring network capability following storms and other natural disasters.

IBAC developed RPAS in line with the ICAO RPAS Concept of Operations currently under consideration for inclusion into ICAO Annex 6. The program follows the IS-BAO framework for crewed aircraft, with operators encouraged to advance beyond initial Stage 1 RPAS certification as they further refine their safety best practices.

Karas added Verizon’s accreditation also serves as an example for the continued expansion and refinement of the RPAS program.

“Input from industry operators like Verizon and [initial RPAS-accredited, standalone UAS operation] Phoenix Air Unmanned, as well as from our working group members from across the industry and our support affiliate, the Unmanned Safety Institute, remains critical to the development of this industry standard,” he said.

Verizon further noted IS-BAO RPAS registration was an important step toward the company’s plans to expand its UAS operations to more complex environments, including flights beyond visual line of sight.