Two sessions at next month’s NBAA Convention in Orlando, Fla., will focus on unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) to provide attendees with information about upcoming regulations governing UAS operations and their potential effects on the business aviation industry. “Unmanned aircraft are a growing part of the business aviation community,” said NBAA senior vice president of conventions and membership Chris Strong.
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.
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.
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.
The U.S. Air Force awarded Northrop Grumman a $240 million contract modification to build three more RQ-4B Global Hawk Block 30 unmanned aircraft, each with integrated sensor suite and signals intelligence (Sigint) payloads, plus two Sigint payloads as retrofit kits. The new aircraft will join 18 Block 30 Global Hawks the service earlier planned to retire.
The FAA on August 14 released its final solicitation for a new Center of Excellence (COE) for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) tasked with identifying current and future issues critical to the safe integration of UAS into the nation’s airspace. These issues include detect-and-avoid technology, control and communications, low-altitude operations safety, compatibility with ATC operations and training and certification of UAS pilots and other crewmembers. The agency will support this new COE with at least $500,000 per year over the next 10 years.
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.
The FAA on August 8 banned all U.S. airlines and commercial operators, as well as anyone flying with an FAA-issued pilot certificate, from operating within Iraqi airspace at any altitude in response to ground fighting between Iraqi security forces and militants. The ban remains in force until further notice.
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