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24 Apr 14. Airbus Defence and Space Launches High Altitude Pseudo-Satellite Zephyr 8 Programme. Airbus Defence and Space officially announced that it has launched the Zephyr 8 programme to develop the next generation of the world-record setting Zephyr 7 system and invites potential customers and partners to undertake joint in-flight demonstrations of their payloads and applications. Zephyr is a High Altitude Pseudo-Satellite (HAPS). Running exclusively on solar power and flying at high altitudes above the weather and above conventional air traffic, it fills a capability gap between satellites and UAS. Like no other means they allow focus on a specific area of interest (which can be hundreds of miles wide) while providing it with satellite-like communications and ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance) services over long periods of time without interruption. Recognizing the excellent fit with Airbus’ existing portfolio of space-based, airborne as well as terrestrial systems and services, the Airbus Group has been working on High Altitude Pseudo-Satellites (HAPS) since 2008. A cross-divisional “Nursery” project was created in which an integrated team of space and aviation experts has incubated a HAPS business addressing all its technical, commercial and regulatory aspects. In 2013, this incubator acquired the assets of the “Zephyr” programme which had originally been initiated in the UK and integrated all the key Zephyr staff into its HAPS organisation. The Zephyr programme successfully achieved several world records, including the longest flight duration without refuelling (14 days, that is ten times longer than any other aircraft in the world) as well as very high altitude flights (70,740ft). (Source: UAS VISION)

24 Apr 14. Non-profit Group Sues FAA Over UAS Flying Ban. The US Federal Aviation Administration faces a second legal challenge over its ban on non-recreational flying of unmanned aircraft – and the first coming from a non-profit organization dedicated to searching for missing people. Texas-based EquuSearch filed a lawsuit in the US Court of Appeals in Washington DC, asking the court to over-turn a two-month-old FAA order prohibiting the non-profit organization from using unmanned aircraft sytems (UAS) as part of its search efforts. “The FAA order should be set aside because it is unlawful, arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion and not otherwise in accordance with the law,” wrote Brendan Schulman, the attorney representing EquuSearch and volunteer Gene Robinson. The case was filed about six weeks after an administrative law judge for the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) ruled in favour of another Schulman client – Raphael Pirker. That decision challenged the FAA’s move to classify any UAS flown for commercial purposes as identical to Part 91 category manned aircraft. Pirker was fined $10,000 for operating an aircraft recklessly, since he was not a licensed pilot. According to the FAA’s policy, the same UAS flown by Pirker for recreational reasons would be considered a “model aircraft” and subject to only a few restrictions, such as to avoid airspace near airports and flying above 400ft. The FAA has since appealed the ruling in the Pirker case to the board’s appointed members. The new lawsuit filed by Schulman on behalf of EquuSearch seeks to overturn the FAA’s ban on non-recreational UAS flying, even if the purpose is for humanitarian reasons rather than profit-seeking activity. (Source: UAS VISION)

24 Apr 14. Arcturus UAV unveiled JUMP™, a new vertical takeoff and
landing system for their T-20 and T-16 fixed wing UAVs. Booms fitted with vertical lift motors and rotors are mounted to each wing to provide vertical lift for takeoff and landing. Vertical lift motors are shut off for winged flight and propellers are feathered longitudinally for minimum drag. Seamless transition to winged flight is achieved by the Piccolo autopilot using Latitude Engineering’s Hybrid-Quadrotor technolog

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