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First UAS type certificate issued by FAA

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posted on Jul, 26 2013 @ 09:31 AM
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Insitu is planning to launch the first commercial use of a UAS, after receiving certification by the FAA, under FAR Part 21.25. The restricted certification is for an Insitu Scan Eagle. AeroVironment also received certification for their Puma AE.

Under Part 21.25 certification is awarded for UAVs previously accepted for use by the Defense Department. The manufacturer has to be careful that the basic UAV configuration matches exactly to that of the one in use by the Defense Department (they can't add or remove sensors or payload, and the UAV [if it's a type armed by the Defense Department, neither of these were in this case] has to fly unarmed, but with the hardpoint attachments intact. They are essentially certifying them as DoD aircraft, and transferring them to a civilian company.

The aircraft will be operated by an unknown customer, but some things can be inferred based on the certification. Both certificates include the wording: "Only for operation in the designated Arctic area as defined by the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012".

Both aircraft have been certified for beyond line of sight operations, but neither has received final approval from the FAA. The FAA still has to sign off on the airworthiness certificate, which includes the UAV, the base station, launch and recovery equipment. That is expected sometime between now and October 1st.

[Insitu is planning to launch the first U.S. commercial unmanned aircraft system operation following receipt of FAA type certification for its ScanEagle UAS on July 19. No details are available yet, but the operation is expected to be in the Arctic.

Restricted-category type certifications for the 44-lb., gasoline-powered ScanEagle and the 13.4-lb., battery-powered AeroVironment Puma AE are the first to be issued by FAA under Part 21.25 of the federal aviation regulations.

“Type certification allows us to go beyond the norm, which is a UAS operating under a certificate of authorization as a public aircraft, and is the basis for commercial operations,” says Paul McDuffee, vice president of government relations and strategy for Insitu, a Boeing subsidiary.

The AeroVironment Puma and Insitu ScanEagle were selected as pathfinder programs for restricted-category certification under FAA’s existing Part 21.25 rules. Insitu submitted its application in January, and the process went “astoundingly fast,” he says.
www.aviationweek.com.../article-xml/asd_07_26_2013_p01-01-601023.xml




posted on Jul, 26 2013 @ 11:42 AM
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What are they using a small limited range scaneagle in the arctic for?



posted on Jul, 26 2013 @ 12:26 PM
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reply to post by boomer135
 


Probably something to do with ice melt, but I haven't been able to find out for site yet.



posted on Jul, 27 2013 @ 01:17 AM
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reply to post by Zaphod58
 


Are these drones? Are they being delivered to private companies/parties with defense payload delivery systems intact and operational? And also the other persons' question - what are they going to do in the Arctic?



posted on Jul, 27 2013 @ 01:23 AM
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reply to post by luxordelphi
 


Yes they are, and no they aren't. They have to conform to DoD standards, but like any former military aircraft, they can't be armed, and any arming systems have to be removed, or permanently deactivated. As I said in the OP neither of these is capable of being armed even in the military version.

Like I said to him, most likely monitoring ice melt. The ScanEagle has a 15 hour loiter time, and can operate in bad weather. The Puma only has a 2 hour loiter time, but can operate up to almost 18 miles from the launch point.



posted on Jul, 27 2013 @ 01:38 AM
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reply to post by Zaphod58
 


Thx for that and a next question: what are hardpoint attachments? And, from there, is the FAA, in future based on these initial forays, going to allow the sale to private parties of DOD style drones with payload delivery systems intact? As long as no ammunition (missiles and such) accompany the sale? Is that where this goes? And, I guess, as long as they are used in the Arctic?

FAR 21.25 - Issuance of Type Certificate: Restricted Category
edit on 27-7-2013 by luxordelphi because: Include link to FAR part 21.25.



posted on Jul, 27 2013 @ 02:05 AM
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reply to post by luxordelphi
 


Hardpoints are where external stores are attached. In the case of the military, weapons. In the case of civilian agencies, they'd be able to attach small external sensors to supplement the onboard sensors.

No. No military aircraft can be sold in the US to a civilian or civilian company that has not had any wrappings systems either removed or permanently deactivated. There was talk of putting non-lethal weapons on Customs UAVs, but there were issues with it and the idea was scrapped.

The reason they are using DoD standards is to make it easier to certify them. The DoD has more rigorous certifications than the FAA, and if it can pass their certification process the FAA can live with that.
edit on 7/27/2013 by Zaphod58 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 27 2013 @ 01:07 PM
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reply to post by Zaphod58
 


Thankyou for your knowledgeable replies. It's an absolute pleasure. In your OP you state that in order to receive certification under FAR 21.25:



The manufacturer has to be careful that the basic UAV configuration matches exactly to that of the one in use by the Defense Department (they can't add or remove sensors or payload, and the UAV [if it's a type armed by the Defense Department, neither of these were in this case] has to fly unarmed, but with the hardpoint attachments intact.


and the hardpoint attachments are:



Hardpoints are where external stores are attached. In the case of the military, weapons.


and then you say:



No. No military aircraft can be sold in the US to a civilian or civilian company that has not had any wrappings systems either removed or permanently deactivated.


So if the hardpoints are still there, how hard is it to jury-rig the rest? I mean if one was an evil corporation or private party determined to take over the world?

The other issue with this is that it seems like the military, funded by the taxpayer, gets the bill for the research and the prototype and the testing while the corporation gets all that for free.



posted on Jul, 27 2013 @ 01:08 PM
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It would appear that the University of Alaska Fairbanks is the most likely operator. They'll be working with NASA and other organizations monitoring arctic seas, ice, and weather.


On July 16th, the Sierra, a unique unmanned aerial system (UAS) operated by the NASA Ames Research Center in northern California (learn more), began flights over the Arctic sea ice as part of the MIZOPEX (Marginal Ice Zone Observations and Processes Experiment) mission. MIZOPEX is an intensive observing campaign that will characterize the ocean surface, sea ice, and atmosphere at the critical marginal ice zone (MIZ), the southern edges of the Arctic sea ice, as the seasonal land-fast ice melts away from the shores of the North Slope of Alaska and the MIZ moves northward. The Sierra UAS carries a sophisticated scientific payload that includes radiometers; imaging systems; laser/lidars; radars including synthetic aperture radars; and other ice-, ocean-, and atmospheric-sensing instruments.

MIZOPEX mission flights are conducted from the Oliktok Point Long Range Radar Station at Oliktok Point, Alaska, about 30 miles west of Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. Flights begin in Restricted Area R-2204, a restricted flight area of 4 miles in diameter centered at Oliktok Point and assigned to the Office of Science in the U.S. Department of Energy for atmospheric research purposes. MIZOPEX mission flight paths extend northward through an altitude reservation corridor to international airspace. The MIZOPEX campaign will establish several important new “firsts” including the first flights of scientific payloads using a UAS from northern Alaska into international airspace and over international waters.

Through mid-August, MIZOPEX missions will include flights of the ScanEagle and DataHawk instrumented UASs. The ScanEagle will be operated by a team from the University of Alaska at Fairbanks. DataHawks will be operated by a team from the University of Colorado at Boulder that includes the MIZOPEX Principal Investigator, Professor Jim Maslanik.

energy.sandia.gov...



posted on Jul, 27 2013 @ 01:14 PM
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reply to post by luxordelphi
 


(I really hate Swype. That should have been weapons, not wrappings.
)

There is actually quite a bit besides just the hardpoints required to put weapons on board. While the hardpoints will still be there (at least on the ones capable of having hardpoints on them), the weapons control systems will be removed. You'll be able to transfer data back and forth from the hardpoint, but the firing control systems will be gone, so you won't be able to put weapons on (on the ones capable of carrying them). FCS (Fire Control Systems) are actually pretty complex systems, and you won't be able to just throw something together to replace it.

Most UAS' that will operate over the US, are going to be something similar to these two. The ScanEagle and the Puma AE are both too small to carry much, if anything in the way of weapons systems (or even external payloads). The Shadow Hawk is the smallest I've seen yet that could carry anything (the military version can carry a 40mm grenade launcher as its largest payload).



posted on Jul, 27 2013 @ 01:40 PM
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reply to post by Zaphod58
 


If the hardpoint system can still be used for sensors (of whatever type) and the mechanism for a sensor type that requires something to be sent in order to receive an answer is still in place, how does that differ, except in scale, from weapons? How does that prevent someone from launching a lightweight payload like a chemical or other concentrated biological agent, for instance? A laser weapon would also seem to be able to fit right in with still existing hardpoint data transfer systems.



posted on Jul, 27 2013 @ 02:11 PM
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reply to post by luxordelphi
 


The datalink for a sensor is different than for a weapons system. A sensor link basically has an off/on setting, and a steering system for a moveable sensor head. For most sensors it's a simple off/on, and the data going back through the uplink.

For a weapons system, you have to have much more data coming back and forth, and it requires a much bigger datalink. It's like looking at a nuclear payload compared to a conventional payload. A nuclear pylon has more wiring and more information going back and forth than a conventional pylon.
edit on 7/27/2013 by Zaphod58 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 27 2013 @ 05:24 PM
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Also weapons require testing for how use of them interferes with the flight of the aircraft - whether firing guns or launching rockets/missiles or dropping bombs they all have aerodynamic effects that have to be tested for. You can see some such tests on YT.

If the hardpoint is not a weapon hardpoint then such tests are not carried out.

Also fuel tank hard points have piping hat is not usually required for any other type.



posted on Jul, 30 2013 @ 04:26 PM
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Hmm, one could still jury rig a hard point connection and a timer system to release a canister containing a bio/chemical weapon material...on the other hand, you can do that with a piper cub as well.

I just get the feeling that yet another potential Pandora's box is about to be opened....



posted on Jul, 30 2013 @ 04:29 PM
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reply to post by nwtrucker
 


The only thing is that all the ones that we're going to see flying around are too small to carry much if anything.



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