The Iniziative Industriali Italiane (3I, formerly Meteor) Sky Arrow 650 push-piston trainer has won US certification and is being evaluated by the US government for surveillance. 3I completed FAR 23 certification last month with only "minor modifications" to its original kitplane all-composite design and says the USA is now its key target market.

The design of the two-pilot tandem-configuration Sky Arrow 650 will also be updated in Europe, where the aircraft has approval in Germany, Italy and the UK, and complies with Joint Aviation Requirements for very light aircraft (JAR-VLA) night flight rules.

The Rome-based company has sold about 200 aircraft in Europe and is now targeting US private pilots and government agencies, says 3I sales director Carlo Piacentini. "FAR 23 certification is the ideal passport to enter any market, as everyone knows it is the most stringent safety assessment in the world," he says.

The aircraft is powered by a 75kW (100hp) Rotax 912-S2 engine, with a 60kW variant available in kit form.

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has ordered a specially configured Sky Arrow for weather surveillance and had been awaiting US certification to take delivery. 3I is now promoting the NOAA variant, dubbed the remotely assisted-working aircraft system (RAWAS), as a platform for paramilitary operations in Australia, Europe and the USA.

The Sky Arrow 650 RAWAS, which is designed to link with a mobile ground unit, has attracted strong interest from several European university research departments, says Piacentini.

Source: Flight International