This is only a small step in a long march. The full integration of unmanned air systems (UAS) into the congested Israeli airspace is still a dream that will only come true very slowly .
The process began with a small step that is more symbolic than anything, but it made some people in the industry smile.
A Black Eagle 50 – a rotary UAS developed by Steadicopter in Israel –received certification from the Israel civil aviation authority (CAA) to fly in Israel civil airspace.
The company intends to operate the system for various utility companies. Military applications are also being evaluated.
In addition, Steadicopter is working on a larger helicopter platform called the Black Eagle 300 – the company plans to convert a single-pilot light helicopter to an unmanned system.
The Black Eagle is 50 is 2.3m long and has a 201cm diameter rotor. It has a 35kg max take-off weight, including a 3kg payload.
According to the company the Black Eagle 50 has an endurance of 3h and a max speed of 126km/h. Service ceiling is 9,000ft.
Israeli UAS manufacturers have been trying to show that their products are safe to fly with the bigger manned platforms, and receive certification for most of their systems. This process has thus far achieved only very limited milestones, but it continues nonetheless. The CAA has established a special UAS department which is busy with that type of certifications only.
Sources in the industry and the CAA assess that some achievements will be announced soon.
However, despite the momentary smiles those working in the Israeli UAS industry realise that because Israeli airspace is very small and “dominated” by the air force, many more little steps will have to made until their target is achieved in a meaningful way.