The first commercial flight of the Boeing/Insitu ScanEagle unmanned aerial system (UAS) could happen as early as the next few weeks, revealed the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) at the show yesterday.

"We're looking at early September," says Jim Williams, director of the FAA's UAS Integration Office in a briefing about integration of the UAS into the USA's national airspace system.

No firm date for the launch has been officially announced.

The ScanEagle will operate from a ship for US energy company ConocoPhillips to track whales. The operations will be based in the Chukchi Sea region in the Arctic.

Four individual ScanEagle aircraft received a Certificate of Authorisation from the FAA in July, along with three AeroVironment Puma vehicles.

The FAA is in the process of choosing six test sites within the USA for UAS operations, scheduled to be announced by the end of the year

Source: Flight Daily News