Aurora's Optionally-Piloted UH-1H receives Special Airworthiness Certificate from FAA



The FAA has granted a Special Airworthiness Certificate to Aurora Flight Sciences’ UH-1H helicopter, which is the company’s newest optionally-piloted aircraft, and the third manned aircraft overall that Aurora has converted to robotic-controlled or OPA operation.

As the latest development in the Office of Naval Research’s (ONR) Autonomous Aerial Cargo/Utility System (AACUS) program, Aurora has created the “Autonomy-enabled UH-1,” also known as AEH-1, by adding a complete digital flight control system.

“The Special Airworthiness Certificate is a significant validation of the program’s capabilities by the FAA,” says John Langford, Aurora Chairman and CEO.

“The OPA technology not only enhances the UH-1H system but will expand the operational capability of the mission in the field.”

With a focus on the digital flight control system's safety and maturity, the AEH-1 permits the quick development and testing of up and coming rotorcraft autonomy technologies.

Currently, the aircraft is flying as the testbed for Aurora’s Tactical Autonomous Aerial Logistics System (TALOS) technology.

The latest manned aircraft to be converted to a robotic vehicle, the UH-1 was originally developed back in the late 1950s, and it became well known for its use during the Vietnam War.