Israel allows drone to fly in civilian airspace, a world first
Israel created aviation history by allowing a drone to fly in civilian airspace and not restricting its flight to uncontrolled airspace. Following its certification by the Civil Aviation Authority of the State of Israel (CAAI), Elbit Systems’ Hermes Starliner drone will now be able to fly at medium altitude for a multitude of long-range missions, such as securing mass public events, environmental inspection missions, precision agriculture work, maritime search and rescue, as well as border security and counter-terrorism operations.
For safety reasons, international aviation regulations prohibit uncertified aircraft from flying in civil airspace, limiting drone operations to unrestricted airspace – typically below 400 feet above ground level (AGL) . The certification issued by the CAAI to the Hermes Starliner drone changes that.
And the reason this particular drone is allowed to fit into non-segregated civilian airspace is because it meets NATO standardization requirements.
Six-year certification process
Elbit Systems’ breakthrough comes after a rigorous six-year certification process that included extensive ground and flight testing. These tests were carried out in accordance with air navigation rules, airworthiness bases and aeronautical standards regulated by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
As CAAI Director Joel Feldschuh explains:
CAAI is an active partner in ICAO’s efforts to update international regulations to accommodate remotely piloted aircraft systems in civil airspace. This type certificate is the result of a fundamental process we carried out over six years which included thousands of hours of work, dozens of audits, laboratory tests, ground tests, intensive flight tests and thousands of documents.
Hermes Starliner UAS: features and specifications
The drone itself is very popular – not only in Israel but also internationally. Elbit Systems has been contracted by more than a dozen countries, including Canada and Switzerland, to supply the Hermes Starliner UAS and its variants.
With a wingspan of 17 meters and a weight of 1.6 tons, the drone is capable of up to 36 hours of continuous flight at an altitude of up to 25,000 feet. It can carry an additional 450 kg of electro-optical, thermal, radar and other payloads.
Among the aviation technologies carried by the drone are a terrain avoidance warning system, automatic takeoff and landing in poor visibility, redundant avionics, sensors and satellite data links, and adverse weather capabilities. and direct lightning sustain.
And now that it has been certified safe to fly over populated areas and in any civilian airspace, governments, as well as international and commercial organizations, can leverage the aircraft for large missions of long duration which until now have only been carried out by manned aircraft.
Read more: Envisioning ‘global drone hub’ status by 2030, India bans imports of foreign drones
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