GRAND FORKS, ND – The Northern Plains UAS Test Site (NPUASTS) will conduct demonstration flights with Volansi’s VOLY C10 in Williston, ND on Wednesday, November 18 at the hangar of the former Sloulin Field International Airport, now Williston Square, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., weather permitting. This flight demonstration will be the first time NPUASTS has flown the VOLY C10 in North Dakota. 

NPUASTS is administrating the development of Vantis, North Dakota’s statewide unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) network. Vantis will enable UAS, or drone, flights beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) in McKenzie and Williams counties, with additional locations to cover the entire state once the key site is validated. Part of that validation includes extensive testing of the network. Earlier this year, the VOLY C10 was selected through a competitive RFP to be the UAS used to complete that testing and validation. 

“We’re excited to get the VOLY C10 in the air, and to make some connections with local leaders,” said Nicholas Flom, executive director of NPUASTS. “We continue to move forward toward achieving this first-of-its-kind, world-class, BVLOS network, right here in North Dakota.” 

Expected speakers prior to the demonstration flights include North Dakota District 1 Senator Brad Bekkedahl, McKenzie County Commissioner Gene Veeder, Volansi CEO Hannan Parvizian, and Nicholas Flom. Media are invited to the demonstration. 

City of Williston officials are enthusiastic about the industry’s future in the area. “We’re very excited to welcome the Northern Plains UAS Test Site to western North Dakota,” emphasized David Tuan, administrator for the City of Williston. “The potential for economic and industry growth in Williston comes at an opportune time and we couldn’t be happier about showcasing Williston Square as a launching pad for advanced unmanned flights.”

Initial flights in the McKenzie and Williams counties area will test installed network components, perform use-case development flights, ensure network safety and reliability, and help NPUASTS set the standard requirements for any aircraft seeking to fly on Vantis. Once validated, Vantis will be open for commercial BVLOS flights – something that is all but unheard of in the United States. 

“Vantis demonstrates the untapped ‘opportunity potential’ in western North Dakota,” explained Shawn Wenko, executive director of Williston Economic Development. “Unmanned Aerial Systems and Beyond Visual Line of Site will be commonplace across the globe someday. But today, North Dakota is the leader. Vantis is happening and the first phase is going up in western North Dakota. I couldn’t be more excited for the potential this will bring to our area.”

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