EADS Cassidian reports positive results from a third flight-test campaign conducted recently from Goose Bay, Canada, with the second prototype Barracuda UAV. Five flights during June and July each lasted up to one hour and proved various new mission modes, including autonomous 4-D navigation and cooperative flying with a second UAV. Unlike the previous two campaigns in 2009 and 2010, the latest flights were funded entirely by the company.
Unmanned aerial vehicle
The AOPA Foundation’s Air Safety Institute (ASI) released a new interactive online course focused on unmanned aircraft in the National Airspace System. Topics include what unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) are and how they operate; their effect on general aviation; how manned and unmanned aircraft can safely share the airspace; and how UASs are operating in the NAS. It was developed in collaboration with the Department of Defense.
While the Iranian capture of the Sentinel caught public attention, it also allowed researchers to show that spoofing technology has been, and continues to be, closely investigated by a number of military and civilian facilities in the United States.
Stakeholders in the unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) industry are coming to accept that introducing UASs into the national airspace system (NAS) will occur gradually, and that a September 2015 deadline for “safe integration” established by Congress is more a waypoint than a destination.
Israel’s Elbit Systems announced a multimillion-dollar contract to supply its Hermes 450 and 900 unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) to a “Latin American customer.” The buyer was identified in press reports as Colombia.
Northrop Grumman is marketing an unmanned aircraft that could be a low-cost alternative for training the operators of its own MQ-5B Hunter and the Predator and Reaper UAVs made by General Atomics.
Industry and government executives involved in the development and regulation of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) offered airline pilots assurances that air vehicles piloted from the ground will be introduced safely and incrementally to the U.S. national airspace system (NAS). “We’re doing this in an organized and structured fashion,” said Richard Prosek, manager of flight technologies and procedures in the FAA’s UAS Integration Office.
The U.S. Army has validated the design and functionality of a second-phase ground-based sense and avoid (GBSAA) radar system that will support training flights of MQ-1C Gray Eagle UAVs in unrestricted airspace beginning in 2014.
The draft FAA rule that will provide a regulatory framework for operating small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) of about 55 pounds or less in unrestricted airspace will likely limit those aircraft to flying 400 feet agl or below, within visual line of sight of an observer on the ground and during day VMC. The “sense-and-avoid” aspect of keeping safe separation from other aircraft will be provided by a ground observer, said Ted Wierzbanowski, chairman of ASTM International Committee F38, which is developing UAS standards under an agreement with the FAA.
UAVs operating over Somalia have been involved in a number of crashes and incidents since last summer, including a near-collision with a Boeing 737 departing Mogadishu’s Aden Adde International Airport in January, according to the United Nations panel monitoring compliance with an arms embargo of that country. The pilot of the 737 altered course after receiving a warning from the aircraft’s traffic alert collision avoidance system.