Wyle is to develop formal flight and sensor operator training courses to enhance the competence of unmanned aircraft systems flight operations of the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL).

The training will aim to minimise unmanned aircraft mishaps by developing and validating detailed training, operations and related documentation for radio-controlled aircraft systems.

To support training, Wyle will build and operate two 20lb aircraft each with a wing span of approximately 6ft, modified versions of a common model radio-controlled aircraft used by AFRL for various sensor and flight control research projects.

The aircraft will be operated by a ground control unit, and a laptop to programme the aircraft and record operational data along with an optical camera installed as a sensor system.

Wyle project lead Sam Carbaugh said the objective is to develop a commercial version of the AFRL small unmanned aircraft system for potential certification by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the experimental aircraft category.

“This will assist in enabling both government and civilian use of small unmanned aircraft for research and development, flight demonstrations and aircrew training,” Carbaugh said.

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Under the agreement government aircraft technology will be transferred to Wyle and in return AFRL personnel will receive small UAS flight qualification training during the course development phases and to obtain flight training without using limited and valuable research aircraft.