RPAS countdown is on in South Africa


The countdown is well and truly on as far as the South African Civil Aviation Authority’s (CAA) stated aim of having regulations in place and operational for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or RPAS (remote piloted aircraft systems) as it has christened them by the end of March.

Last July the CAA issued an industry notice regarding the development of regulations for RPAS. At that time it indicated no approval had yet been granted to “any individual or entity” to operate RPAS. Monday was the final day comments on the planned regulations could be submitted to CAA.

One of the world’s leading aerospace companies, Lockheed Martin, acknowledges there is a big future for small UAVs.
“Over the past few years, the unmanned aircraft systems business has evolved significantly as the demand for small unmanned aircraft systems continues to grow. These systems have been incorporated into both military and commercial sectors as a proven, affordable and effective tool,” a statement said.
“Because of their value in adapting to various environments, users require versatile systems that can adjust to specific missions, from agriculture to humanitarian aid to firefighting to law enforcement.
“Advanced autonomy allows these systems to operate even when manned assets cannot. They can work day and night; reach remote areas in the most austere environments; increase safety for operators and provide enhanced situational awareness during complex missions.”

The Marietta, Georgia, headquartered company plans to put its Procerus Technologies Indago vertical take-off and lift quadrotor to work in the Detroit area providing high quality data and images to first responder and public utility applications this year.

Indago’s flight time and electro-optic/infrared (EO/IR) gimballed imager provides high quality data and enhanced situational awareness for operators to make real-time decisions in support of emergency response, including search and rescue operations or disaster relief. Indago is capable of continuous, 360 degree panning capabilities to aid area surveillance, as well as manoeuvre to specific areas of interest in crowded environments where fixed wing aircraft cannot reach.