GE Aviation, AAI hold first trajectory-based flight demonstration of unmanned aircraft system

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., 16 Dec. 2009. GE Aviation and AAI Corp., in cooperation with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and U.S. Army, performed the first "proof of concept" flight demonstrations of an unmanned aircraft system (UAS) controlled with a GE Flight Management System (FMS) certified for use in commercial manned aircraft. These flights used the AAI Shadow Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System controlled by the GE Aviation FMS.

Posted by Courtney Howard

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., 16 Dec. 2009. GE Aviation and AAI Corp., in cooperation with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and U.S. Army, performed the first "proof of concept" flight demonstrations of an unmanned aircraft system (UAS) controlled with a GE Flight Management System (FMS) certified for use in commercial manned aircraft.

These flights used the AAI Shadow Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System controlled by the GE Aviation FMS as part of the UAS FAA & Industry Team (UFIT) Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRDA).

The event demonstrated an approach for the safe integration of UAS into the National Airspace System (NAS) as part of the FAA's Next Generation Air Transportation System Program.

"The Shadow and the U.S. Army will benefit by using a derivative of this commercial-certified flight management system to provide precise, time-based navigation capability," says Dr. Gerry Vossler, vice president of Strategic Initiatives for GE Aviation Systems. "Continued development of this technology approach offers a path to 4DT UAS operations in NextGen."

The first flight took off at 2:50 p.m. CST on Thursday, December 3, at the U.S. Army Redstone Arsenal Airfield The initial flight lasted 45 minutes and demonstrated both lateral and vertical control of the Shadow 200 UAS coupled with the GE FMS.

On Friday, December 4, a three-hour demonstration was conducted that allowed for more rigorous testing of the FMS controlled Shadow 200. The results provide a variety of operational and technical assessments to demonstrate the ability to integrate a certified flight management capability into existing U.S. military UAS to support operations in national airspace, reveals a representative.

This demonstration is in support of the UAS FAA & Industry Team (UFIT) Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRDA) between GE and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Integration of the FMS with the One System Ground Control Station (GCS) will enable the Army to fold this capability into all UAS that incorporate the One System, adds a company representative.

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