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Pilotless Aircraft tests approved at Llanbedr


QinetiQ and Llanbedr Airfield Estates (LAE) have declared Llanbedr Airfield, North Wales, officially “open for business” in support of test flight operations of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS). 

Flying is scheduled to start in early 2015, subject to a 90 day notice period for establishing the segregated airspace required to re-link Llanbedr Airfield to the existing test range over Cardigan Bay. A draft proposal for establishing this airspace for RPAS operations from Llanbedr Airfield has already been through consultation and will expand the Wales RPAS Environment capability, already Europe’s pre-eminent instrumented RPAS air/sea/land test range. 

The airfield has a 7,500ft runway enabling the operation of all classes and sizes of RPAS, augmenting the current capability for small/medium RPAS testing at Aberporth, South Wales. 

Llanbedr Airfield Estates spokesperson said, “We are delighted that following months of planning and refurbishment works, we are now in a position to formally “open” the airfield for business with specific focus on the future development and testing of RPAS. With the support of the Welsh Government and QinetiQ we have been able to significantly expand and enhance the already unique environment available in Wales for RPAS testing and evaluation and this now provides a stage to compete internationally within this growing sector.

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