Spanish technology company Indra says it has completed the first test flights with its optionally piloted vehicle (OPV) Targus, achieving a significant milestones as part of the Civil UAV Initiative.
Indra said it carried out these experimental flights in non-segregated airspace with a drone that weighs 1.25 tons and has an 11-meter wingspan.
“No other newly-developed UAV has been granted permission to carry out such flights before. This a landmark for Spanish aviation and a step forward for development in this sector,” the company noted.
The first flight took place on June 24 and was the start of a series of tests that have been conducted over the last two weeks. All those flights complied with the approval of flight conditions issued by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and with the flight approval by the Aviation Safety and Security Agency (AESA in its Spanish initials) of Spain, which authorizes their testing.
A special communication protocol was also established with the air traffic control of Santiago de Compostela Airport.
Aboard the Targus, the test pilot carried out the take-off maneuver and, once the aircraft was airborne, handed over control to the ground control center.
The concept offers operational advantage for future users, who would be able to fly over urban areas or land at airports without restrictions when manned, and fly without a pilot when it arrives at the operation area.
“To have obtained the approval of flight conditions for an OPV from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to fly it is a success of great importance in itself since it is a process that has never been carried out before and it provides experience and a competitive advantage for the future,” the company said in an announcement.
The project now enters its final stage to finish the development of the OPV this year.