Small UAV OK'd For National Airspace

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The CyberBug, a small hand-launched unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that comes in several models ranging from about three to 15 pounds, has been granted an experimental airworthiness certificate by the FAA. Cyber Defense Systems, which builds the aircraft, says it is the first vehicle less than 100 pounds that has been approved to fly in the U.S. National Airspace System, and one of only 12 unmanned vehicles to be granted experimental certificates from the FAA. Cyber Defense successfully completed a CyberBug demonstration flight for FAA officials in Florida on June 15. The company expects to market the vehicle for military, law enforcement and commercial applications. The UAVs can be assembled in minutes and launched from an open area to provide instant aerial surveillance, according to Cyber Defense. The vehicles fly for up to an hour and transmit video and data to a portable ground-control station. The CyberBug operator can monitor dangerous events, and see around buildings, over hills and beyond line of sight. Applications include search and rescue, traffic monitoring, environmental research, border patrol and drug interdiction. Certification permits UAV flight operations in specified sections of the NAS. It also authorizes unmanned aircraft manufacturers to conduct research and development, crew training and marketing demonstrations.