SAN DIEGO – Last night at the Aviation Week Network’s 62nd Annual Laureate Awards in Washington, DC, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) and its teammates NASA, the FAA and Honeywell were honored for best achievement of 2018 in the category of Commercial Aviation-Unmanned Systems. The team was recognized for conducting the first FAA-approved, no chase plane required, flight of a large Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) in controlled airspace using a Detect and Avoid (DAA) system developed by GA-ASI to meet the FAA’s 14 CFR 91.113(b) requirement to “see and avoid” other aircraft.
“We’re thrilled to be part of this important aviation achievement,” said David R. Alexander, president, GA-ASI. “This is another step toward our goal of producing UAS that can be certified to fly in non-segregated airspace. Our DAA system is more capable than the collision avoidance systems required on today’s commercial manned aircraft, and we believe it far exceeds the average pilot’s ability to ‘see and avoid.’ The predictive capabilities of our system creates a safe environment for manned and unmanned aircraft to fly together in the NAS [National Airspace System].”
On June 12, 2018, NASA flew its MQ-9 Ikhana UAS equipped with the DAA system through the NAS after taking off from Southern California. The DAA system installed on Ikhana, a NASA-owned Predator® B/MQ-9 UAS, combined automatic collision avoidance with the ability for the pilot to remain ‘well clear’ of other airspace users. Its subsystems include a GA-ASI-developed airborne radar, TCAS II and DAA tracking capability from Honeywell, Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) IN/OUT, and a Conflict Prediction and Display System.
GA-ASI has been working with the FAA, NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center, Honeywell, and other industry partners since 2013 to develop a standardized airborne DAA system that has worked flawlessly through several test flights. Flight tests on NASA's Ikhana served as the basis for verification and validation of RTCA DO-365 and DO-366, technical standards for DAA, which were published by the RTCA in May 2017.
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI), an affiliate of General Atomics, is the leading designer and manufacturer of proven, reliable Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) systems, radars, and electro-optic and related mission systems, including the Predator® RPA series and the Lynx® Multi-mode Radar. With more than five million flight hours, GA-ASI provides long-endurance, mission-capable aircraft with integrated sensor and data link systems required to deliver persistent flight that enables situational awareness and rapid strike. The company also produces a variety of ground control stations and sensor control/image analysis software, offers pilot training and support services, and develops meta-material antennas. For more information, visit www.ga-asi.com.
Predator, and Lynx are registered trademarks of General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc.