Steen Mogensen, CEO of Scion UAS, LLC, based at the Loveland-Fort Collins Airport, said it’s only a matter of time before we see federal regulations on how unmanned aircraft can operate in national airspace.
“There’s no doubt this is coming,” he said. “It’s a matter of how do we implement (unmanned aircraft) into the airspace safely. Right now, there are no rules for how you operate unmanned aircraft in federal airspace.”
To speed up the testing and demonstrations, Mogensen and his colleagues have been working for several years on an aircraft that would be legal to test now but also will have the same capabilities as an unmanned craft. Their solution: the SA-400 Jackal, a vehicle nearly 20 feet in length designed to carry up to 100 pounds of payload with or without a pilot on board. Because it can be manually piloted and thus fits current airspace requirements, the company last July earned the Federal Aviation Administration’s nod to test the product for research purposes.