The US Federal Aviation Administration has issued a Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA) to the University of Maryland unmanned air vehicle test site to carry out flight testing using the UAV Solutions Talon 240.
Flying should begin in December and will see the fixed-wing electric vehicle fly from the Crisfield Municipal airport in Maryland.
“Use of the Talon 240 to demonstrate safe and responsible integration of unmanned aircraft systems into the airways will contribute to the advancement of the use of this technology in the national airspace system,” UAV Solutions chief executive Bill Davidson said in a statement.
The university said the CAO was the result of the first use of its airworthiness process, which is modelled after the US Navy’s standards for safety and reliability of UAVs.
The university has close connections with the US Naval Air Systems Command, and the Talon was designed for use by militaries and universities that need a platform to conduct operations and research.
The 61kg Talon 240 has an endurance of between 2.5 and 3.5 hours and a payload capacity of 5.5kg, with nose- and belly-mount payload positions.
The carbonfibre and Kevlar design has a 20ft wingspan and a modular battery compartment, and it can take off via a pneumatic launcher or from the back of a pick-up truck and then belly-landed.
The university is also part of the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership (MAAP) – a group of six universities charged by the US Congress with carrying out a programme to integrate unmanned aircraft into US airspace.
Under this programme, the FAA granted the site two-year COAs for seven UAVs. In addition to the Talon, they include the Smart Road Flyer, eSPAARO, Aeryon Sky Ranger, Mantra2, Sig Rascal and two Avid EDF-8 micro UAVs.