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As a part of ongoing research and development, Vigilant Aerospace completed an informal test flight on Friday, Nov. 18 at Wiley Post airport in Oklahoma City. This flight was primarily a shakedown test of several recent improvements to FlightHorizon in advance of our upcoming fully autonomous flight testing on unmanned drones at NASA Armstrong next month.
(From left to right): VAS CEO Kraettli Epperson and Developer Reed McCartney demo FlightHorizon before take-off.

Software Functions Test Checklist

Features tested during Friday’s flights included a wide range of both new and old situational awareness and detect, track and avoid features of FlightHorizon:  
  • Integration with a uAvionix PingBuddy outputting ADS-B signals in the GDL 90 format with service via Wifi
  • Receiving signals from a uAvionix Ping2020 and PingNav onboard
  • Receipt and processing of ADS-R re-broadcast signals from an FAA ADS-B tower
  • Processing of incoming RADAR (TIS-B) signals from the ADS-B tower
  • Manual ownship designation via self-selection in the software interface
  • Ongoing tracking of ownship via ADS-B
  • Ongoing tracking of all nearby ADS-B aircraft targets
  • Successful merger of both ADS-B and ADS-R signals into a single display including duplicative signals
  • Successful merger of both ADS-B and FAA tower RADAR (TIS-B) signals into a single display
  • Storage and retrieval of all hardware configuration and detect-and-avoid options as stored in the software
  • Correct logging of all digital flight data including all ADS-B GDL 90 signals into a re-playable binary flight log file
Pilot Charlie Amis and Vigilant Aerospace Developer Reed McCartney reviewing FlightHorizon live while up in the air.

Software Systems Up and Running

The tests went extremely well and we have further confirmation that the software is functioning perfectly in advance of new fully autonomous self-separation testing:
  • The software Identifies and decodes all signals
  • Merges, tracks and displays signals from multiple sources
  • Classifies and displays all aircraft correctly
  • Handles transitions from different data sources and different altitudes correctly
  • Handles traffic alerts correctly
  • Handles all option-setting functions correctly including traffic management and warning settings
Thanks to everyone who participated and helped out with our flight test and special thanks to uAvionix for providing additional test equipment from their inventory on short notice!
View from the sky during our FlightHorizon flight test.

About Vigilant Aerospace Systems

Vigilant Aerospace is the leading developer of detect-and-avoid and airspace management software for uncrewed aircraft systems (UAS or drones). The company’s product, FlightHorizon, is based on two NASA patents and uses data from multiple sources to display a real-time picture of the air traffic around a UAS and to provide automatic avoidance maneuvers to prevent collisions. The software is designed to meet industry technical standards, to provide automatic safety and to allow UAS to safely fly beyond the sight of the pilot. The software has won multiple industry awards and the company has had contracts and users at NASA, the FAA, the U.S. Department of Defense and with a variety of drone development programs. Visit our website at

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