February 25, 2010
By Alton K. Marsh
Aurora Flight Sciences at Manassas, Va., will equip this Diamond DA42 to operate with or without a pilot. Flight trials are set for this summer.
Its first mission will require a pilot and will involve radar mapping of the Greenland ice pack. Whenever the aircraft is to be used in a civilian airspace system, it will have a pilot. If military missions are involved, the pilot might want to stay on the ground. At the moment, the company has no military customer. Modifications will be paid for by Aurora. However, the company did hint in a press release that it has “roughly the same payload and range performance as the MQ-1 Predator UAV.”
The Aurora aircraft was originally used by Diamond as a prototype for the DA42 multipurpose platform program.
AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Alton Marsh has been a pilot since 1970 and has an airline transport pilot certificate and instrument and multiengine flight instructor certificates, aerobatic training, and a commercial seaplane certificate.
The AOPA Medical Advisory Board is the latest group to urge quick action on the proposed FAA rule that would allow thousands more pilots to fly without the need for a third class medical certificate.
Mexico has lifted a requirement that pilots of arriving and departing private general aviation flights use a third party provider to file advance passenger information system (APIS) manifests.
The Perlan Project is less than a year away from the first flight of a glider being built to ride waves near the edge of space. While construction continues in Oregon, the team’s pilots are staying proficient in more ordinary aircraft.
VOLUNTEER AT AN AOPA FLY-IN NEAR YOU!
SHARE YOUR PASSION. VOLUNTEER AT AN AOPA FLY-IN. CLICK TO LEARN MORE >>>
VOLUNTEER LOCALLY AT AOPA FLY-IN! CLICK TO LEARN MORE >>>
BE A PART OF THE FLY-IN VOLUNTEER CREW! CLICK TO LEARN MORE >>>