DH - Defence Helicopter

FAA certifies optionally-piloted UH-1H

6th November 2017 - 12:30 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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The FAA has granted a Special Airworthiness Certificate to Aurora Flight Sciences’ optionally-piloted UH-1H helicopter, the company announced on 1 November.

Aurora's UH-1H was initially certified under FAA Order 8130.2, which covers inhabited experimental aircraft such as homebuilt and other developmental aircraft. This latest certification under FAA Order 8130.34 permits optionally-piloted aircraft (OPA) operation with only a safety pilot required to monitor the controls.

Under the Office of Naval Research’s Autonomous Aerial Cargo/Utility System programme, Aurora has added a complete digital flight control system to create the Autonomy-Enabled UH-1 (AEH-1).

The AEH-1 has been built to permit the rapid development and test of emerging rotorcraft autonomy technologies. The aircraft is currently flying as the testbed for Aurora's Tactical Autonomous Aerial Logistics System technology.

John Langford, CEO and chairman, Aurora, said: ‘The Special Airworthiness Certificate is a significant validation of the programme's capabilities by the FAA.

‘The OPA technology not only enhances the UH-1H system but will expand the operational capability of the mission in the field.’

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