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Airbus Applies for Civil Certification of UAV

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Airbus Defence and Space Becomes First Company to Apply for European Civil Certification of an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

(Source: Airbus Defence and Space; issued Oct 8, 2014)

The Atalante UAV, seen here taking off on a test flight, was developed by Airbus’ Spanish unit, and is part of the company’s wide range of small and medium-sized drones. (Airbus photo)

Airbus Defence and Space has formally submitted its Atlante unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) for civil type certification – the first ever such application in Europe. The application was made to the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), the body responsible for certifying all aircraft designed or operated in Europe

The Atlante is a 570 kg, single-engined, propeller-powered UAV with a wingspan of eight metres of which the second example recently made its first flight. It is intended to fulfil a wide variety of commercial roles such as: surveillance of oil pipes, powerlines, railways, natural disasters, forest fires or sporting events.

The company and EASA will now work together to develop a certification process for this new type of product, based on the process normally used for manned aircraft, which will set the standards for future UAV certifications in Europe.

Miguel Ángel Morell, Head of Engineering for Military Aircraft, said: “UAVs represent a rapidly growing activity in commercial aviation that will have a very significant economic impact in the near future. The launch of the Atlante application will help EASA to secure a world-leading position in the establishment of the appropriate regulatory framework under which such systems will be designed, produced and maintained. And it will enable Airbus Defence and Space to maintain a leading industrial position in this new and challenging civil aviation sector.”

Airbus Defence and Space is a division of Airbus Group formed by combining the business activities of Cassidian, Astrium and Airbus Military. The new division is Europe’s number one defence and space enterprise, the second largest space business worldwide and among the top ten global defence enterprises. It employs some 40,000 employees generating revenues of approximately €14 billion per year.