AEA: ADS-B For Drones

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Just as the world of manned aircraft struggles to understand drones, the unmanned world is trying to grasp how autonomous or remotely piloted aircraft will fit into the national airspace system.

“Most of the activity is in what’s called the Part 107 market, which is the line of sight market,” says Brad Hayden, president of Robotic Skies, a company to devoted to setting up maintenance networks and airworthiness assurance for unmanned systems.

“Everybody is busting at the seams to fly beyond line of sight. And I think the industry is coming to the realization that that’s going to require a certain amount of equipage and a certain amount of airworthiness to make that happen,” he adds.

At the Aircraft Electronics Association show in New Orleans this week, Hayden announced a partnership with a company called uAvionix that makes a line of tiny ADS-B units half the size of matchboxes. If and when these are required—and the best bet is when, not if—Hayden says he wants his company to be in a position to provide technical and airworthiness support. He sees the UAvionix partnership as just another step leading to a world where UAS are seamlessly integrated into manned flight.

“All you have to do is look at our customers. We have 10 OEMs that are making high-end aircraft, everything from multi-rotors to high-end fixed-wing systems," Hayden told us in this AVweb podcast at AEA. “This is not about segregation of UAS from manned aircraft. This is about integration.”

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