Unmanned cloud-seeding aircraft takes flight in Nevada

UAS test site resources help industry-academic research team showcase UAS potential

DESERT RESEARCH INSTITUTE

IMAGE
IMAGE: (FROM LEFT) DRONE AMERICA’S TODD RICHMAN, PILOT, AND KYLE PRUETT, ENGINEER AND PILOT, PREPARE TO TEST FLY THE SAVANT SUAS WITH CLOUD SEEDING FLARES AT THE HAWTHORNE INDUSTRIAL AIRPORT

CREDIT: KEVIN CLIFFORD, DRONE AMERICA

RENO – For the first time in aviation history, a fixed-wing unmanned aircraft has successfully tested a cloud-seeding payload during an experimental flight in Nevada.

Flown at Hawthorne Industrial Airport under the state’s FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Test Site designation, the Drone America Savant™ aircraft reached an altitude of 400 feet and flew for approximately 18 minutes on Friday, April 29, 2016.

The Savant™ aircraft — named the “Sandoval Silver State Seeder” in honor of Governor Brian Sandoval’s dedication to the success of the state’s UAS industry — deployed two silver-iodide flares, successfully testing and demonstrating its ability to perform unmanned aerial cloud seeding operations.

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