Aurora Flight Sciences announced that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has granted a Special Airworthiness Certificate to Aurora´s newest optionally piloted aircraft, a UH-1H helicopter, the company said.
The latest development in the Office of Naval Research´s (ONR) Autonomous Aerial Cargo/Utility System (AACUS) program, Aurora has added a complete digital flight control system to create the “Autonomy-enabled UH-1,” or AEH-1.
The UH-1, originally developed in the late 1950s and made famous by its role in the Vietnam War, was chosen by Aurora for its latest conversion to a robotic vehicle.
The Aurora UH-1H, a later version of the UH-1 built in 1977, was initially certified under FAA Order 8130.2, which covers “inhabited” experimental aircraft such as homebuilt and other developmental aircraft. The latest certification under FAA Order 8130.34 permits Optionally Piloted Aircraft (OPA) operation with only a Safety Pilot required to monitor the controls.
By focusing on safety and maturity in the digital flight control system, the AEH-1 permits 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 (TALOS) technology. The UH-1H is the third manned aircraft Aurora has converted to robotic-controlled or OPA operation. Other conversions include a Diamond DA42 and a Cessna C208 Caravan. For more information on Aurora´s AACUS program, visit www.aurora.aero/AACUS.
Aurora Flight Sciences is an innovative technology company which strives to create smarter aircraft through the development of versatile and intuitive autonomous systems. Operating at the intersection of technology and robotic aviation, Aurora leverages the power of autonomy to make manned and unmanned flight safer and more efficient. Headquartered in Manassas, Virginia, Aurora operates production plants in Bridgeport, West Virginia and Columbus, Mississippi, has Research and Development Centers in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Dayton, Ohio and Mountain View, California, and a European office, Aurora Swiss Aerospace, located in Luzern, Switzerland. To view recent press releases and more about Aurora visit our website at www.aurora.aero.