Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), or simply drones, are becoming more of a buzzword worldwide. Be it for its wide range of possible uses, controversies around privacy concerns, or disputes around their legality, the discussions are hot right now. With the Association of Unmanned Vehicles Systems International (AUVSI) Unmanned Systems 2014 conference around the corner, we decided to dig deeper to understand what these issues really mean.
On the cover story, our own Chelsea Bryan focuses on the key technology developments needed to make progress with regulation and permits vital for the industry to boom — particularly sense and avoid technology critical to make UAVs safe to operate in civilian airspace. We also take a look at the developments in unmanned vehicles at the military level; specifically on the QF16 program. Re-purposing F-16 fighter jets and packing them with Drone Peculiar Equipment (DPE) to remotely fly them is finally a reality for military uses after years of development. We talk to Boeing, the company leading these efforts, to get an update on what the QF16 means for military avionics.
Finally on the UAS topic, E. Tazewell Ellett from Hogan Lovells US LLP Aviation Group, gives an update on what the FAA and the U.S. need to do to finally exploit the commercial UAS market. Additionally in this issue, we go over some of the questions General Aviation (GA) operators and pilots are facing given the NextGen and European mandates, mainly whether to replace or upgrade their aircraft. For Avionics magazine, the answer was upgrade. In this issue we unveil our new revamped Product Focus section, now called Upgrade Central. Our editors dive deep into ADS-B to help you make some sense out of the entire buzz.
As always, we hope you find this edition useful to navigate and stay current on the latest avionics issues.