General Atomics’ SkyGuardian Aircraft Secures FAA Special Airworthiness Certification

The Federal Aviation Administration has certified General Atomics to operate in national airspace a remotely piloted aircraft designed for civil flight use.

The company said Thursday it obtained Special Airworthiness Certification in experimental category for a second MQ-9B SkyGuardian unit.

David Alexander, president of aircraft systems at General Atomics’ aeronautical systems business, said the permit allows the company to further develop the aircraft for military customers.

GA-ASI developed SkyGuardian over five years through a company-funded project as part of efforts to deploy an unmanned platform in non-segregated airspace and address NATO’s airworthiness type-certification requirements.

MQ-9B performed its debut flight in July from Grand Forks, N.D. to a military air base in Gloucestershire, England.

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