OPV Optionally Piloted Vehicle

Not a day seems to go by without a new abbreviation in the UAV world. This one although not strictly connected with small unmanned aerial systems has caught my eye. For a couple of months now it has been known that the Diamond DA42 a four place twin engined businessman’s modern transport of choice was being converted for UAV use. But perhaps what was not considered was that a couple of seats might be left in!

With two crew on board the Diamond can operate for upto 17 hours, once you take them out the duration increases to 26 hours.

It makes perfect sense to use an advanced aircraft made from composites and certified around the world as an airframe into which to integrate UAV autopilot systems.

A key benefit of keeping the man in the machine is that whilst ferrying the aircraft and operating in national airspace the pilot can do all the radio work and make the aircraft legal within the current framework of NAS useage. The ground station for the DA42M has been designed to fit in the cargo space, so it must be the first UAS that can deploy itself and operator to points of interest.

The more you think about it, the smarter it is.

Will the DA42 be the first to crack the nod to fly in civilian airspace?

OPV, Optionally piloted vehicle
OPV, Optionally piloted vehicle