We’re pleased to share news of a global aerospace-first – the successful test flights of an uncrewed aircraft integrated into controlled airspace, flying beyond visual line of sight, in partnership with aviation leaders. These flights took off, landed and were navigated through uncontrolled and controlled airspace from our Tāwhaki National Aerospace Centre at Kaitorete in Aotearoa New Zealand.
The successful completion of these trial test flights in New Zealand demonstrates that safe, uncrewed flight operations are possible, today, in controlled airspace among other piloted aircraft.
Led by Wisk Aero, the trials included the New Zealand Government and industry partners, including Insitu Pacific as the approved Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) operator, the Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand (CAA) as the regulatory observer and Part 102 approver, Airways New Zealand as the air navigation service provider alongside Airways International’s uncrewed traffic management (UTM) system AirShare, and our Tāwhaki National Aerospace Centre providing the flight-testing site.
The latest test flights were part of Wisk’s multi-phased testing programme under the New Zealand Government’s Airspace Integration Trial Programme (AITP). It brings self-flying, passenger vehicles one step closer to reality – and a future where our taxis will take to the skies instead of the roads! As many uncrewed aircraft use renewable energy sources, it also supports more sustainable air mobility options.
Catherine MacGowan, Wisk’s Vice President of APAC and Air Operations, said: “The processes, data, and learnings from these trial flights will help shape the future of Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) and the broader aviation industry.”
As our Tāwhaki Head of Aerospace Strategy & Global Partnerships Stan Topping explains: “This trial shows that with the right processes and procedures in place, uncrewed aircraft can be treated the same as piloted aircraft in controlled airspace – the key difference is the pilots are on the ground.”
Tāwhaki CEO, Linda Falwasser, said: “We’re proud to support world-leading innovation to take flight from our Tāwhaki National Aerospace Centre at Kaitorete. It’s great to be working in partnership as part of the Airspace Integration Trials Programme to chart a path for an adaptive, exciting, sustainable future for aerospace transport.”
We tautoko the substantial efforts of all involved!
For more information about this exciting news refer to the press release here