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Carbonix, Skyports team up to scale drone BVLOS operations

Manufacturing News

Composite drone manufacturer Carbonix has announced a partnership with London-based UAV operator, Skyports Drone Services, to scale beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) operations across Australia using its long-range vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft. 

According to a statement on Wednesday, the first phase of the partnership will see Skyports Drone Services “embed specialist international drone pilots within Carbonix” with these pilots to “provide Carbonix with unparalleled flight experience, operating regular data acquisition missions for Carbonix’s portfolio of energy infrastructure and mining partners.”

Skyports is and active across Europe, Asia, Africa, South America and the Middle East. It provides logistics, survey and monitoring operations to customers including in healthcare, cargo and delivery, and energy sectors. The partnership with Carbonix will be its first commercial project in Australia.

“Skyports Drone Services fills a gap with their scalable end-to-end operational experience in flying fixed-wing VTOL UAVs,” said Carbonix CEO, Philip van der Burg, in a statement on Wednesday. 

“We look forward to having their pilots enhance our BVLOS capabilities and forging a lasting partnership that sees both companies exchange knowledge and expertise.”    

Carbonix’s long-range UAVs have been purchased for applications ranging from lifesaving to bushfire detection to military use, though a focus has emerged on the linear infrastructure market.

The Skyports pilots will “help enhance the capabilities” of Carbonix’s drones as well as “improve operating procedures”, with “a long-term objective of the partnership is to build Carbonix’s operational capabilities.”

Alex Brown, Skyports Drone Services Director, said, “We don’t just fly, we also lead on regulation, compliance, safety management, airspace, and stakeholder management. 

“Our partnership with Carbonix will apply this knowledge to boost operational capabilities and enable the company to scale its infrastructure inspection services. Proving the safety case for drone operations is crucial to the long-term growth and success of the industry.”

Skyports has supported Carbonix on more than 85 long-range missions, covering over 1,500 kilometres across Australia, since the partnership began. It said it will bring additional pilots online early next month to assist Carbonix in the expansion, delivery and operation of its BVLOS operations. 

Carbonix began is Carbonix Boats, and was involved in America’s Cup racing teams, before switching to remotely-piloted aircraft in 2014 or so.

Carbonix founder Dario Valenza will appear at an online panel event next week, hosted by @AuManufacturing editor Peter Roberts and sponsored by Fusion5, on manufacturers that have reinvented themselves. You can book a spot here. (FREE)

Further reading

The fibre of innovation running through a drone business

Carbonix boosts drone production with Quickstep order

Carbonix to supply drones to Fugro

The new reinventors: learn how manufacturers have adapted at this October 5 web event

Australia’s 50 most innovative manufacturers revealed

Picture: Drone pilot Matt Sturdy in the field with Carbonix Volanti drone (supplied)

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