European regulators are increasingly concerned about the safety risks associated with integrating unmanned aerial systems (UAS) into civil airspace, and they are especially worried about the risks posed by smaller unmanned aircraft operating alongside airliners. This was the key message from the UAS 2014 conference held in London last week.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
News and issues relating to civil and military unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) of all kinds and sizes, including those used for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), combat (unmanned combat air vehicles, or UCAVs), law enforcement, research and other applications. Of particular focus is the FAA's planned integration of UAS into the U.S. national airspace system.
The U.S. Navy is advancing supporting elements of the planned Unmanned Carrier-Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UClass) program as it awaits direction on the air vehicle component of the system. The service had expected to issue a final request for proposals (RFP) for the air vehicle component soon, but release of the document has been delayed.
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) planned to conduct functional flight tests of an unmanned aircraft detect-and-avoid (DAA) system early this month in advance of trials on the NASA Ikhana Predator B slated to begin in November.
Operators for the first time successfully launched and recovered a small unmanned aircraft system (UAS) from a U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker, the service said. They achieved the feat on August 18, launching an AeroVironment Puma AE from the flight deck of the Coast Guard cutter Healy, under way in the Arctic Ocean.
Internet-age companies are forging ahead with plans to incorporate small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS)—better known as drones—in their commercial operations. On August 28, Internet search engine and services company Google revealed that it is developing a drone delivery service and has already tested a prototype aircraft.
Boeing won a $9.36 million contract modification from the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa) to refine its concept for a radically improved vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft to the preliminary design review stage. Three other contractors have proposed concepts for the program.
Spain’s Air Traffic Laboratory for Advanced Systems (Atlas) experimental test center on August 20 hosted the first flight of a remotely piloted aircraft system (RPAS) beyond visual line of sight since new rules governing RPAS entered force in that country.
Aurora Flight Sciences told AIN that it is close to securing up to three customers in Europe, plus one in the U.S., for its Centaur optionally piloted aircraft (OPA), which is based on the Diamond DA42 twin-engine tourer. The American company has been marketing the Centaur in the U.S. as a versatile, low-cost airborne sensing platform for two years but only recently expanded the effort to Europe.
The FAA announced that the unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) test site Virginia Polytechnic Institute will manage is cleared to start flying aircraft.
Airlines should not expect to see unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) flying regularly in U.S. airspace “anytime soon,” a senior official with the Federal Aviation Administration told pilots August 7. The assurance came amid continuing reports of unauthorized UAS flights near airliners.
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