Historic drone flight out of sight from Odense

ScanEagle flight represents co-operation between Boeing and UAS test centre

The first flight of an unmanned aircraft beyond the visual line of sight took place yesterday from the drone test centre UAS at HC Andersen Airport near Odense.

The flight saw the world’s largest civilian drone, Boeing’s ScanEagle, fly out over the Kattegat. But in the future, regulation could prove troublesome, DR reports.

READ MORE: Drone centre near Odense attracts students and big players like Boeing

Christian Berg, the head of HCA airport, sees the event as a significant step for the test centre. “It’s a big day for this type of aviation, that’s just as new as the drone industry is,” he said.

“It’s something we’ve worked at for decades, and today we see one of the first fruits of this labour. So its a joyful day for the whole of UAS.”

Darkening skies
However, the traffic authority Trafikstyrelsen prohibits the flight of drones beyond the pilot’s line of sight and yesterday’s test flight required a special dispensation. Berg doesn’t see this as a sustainable approach. “At the moment we’re flying on dispensation, and we would really like a set of rules so we could fly more,” he said.

The EU is in the process of standardising regulations for drone flight across member states, but Berg isn’t holding his breath for this. “They probably won’t see the light of day for many years,” he said.

“And this is a branch that can’t wait.”




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