Delair’s UX11 drone gets EU’s first C6 stamp, eliminating BVLOS approval requirements

Delair UX11 drone BVLOS

French drone and sensor developer Delair has revealed its UX11 craft has become the world’s first enterprise UAV to receive European Union C6 categorization, allowing it to be operated for beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) flights without previous authorization from regulators.

Toulouse-based Delair announced the upgraded marking of its UX11 drone Thursday, noting the new C6 categorization obviates requirements for BVLOS mission approvals from authorities under European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) rules. The development marks another milestone in the company’s drive to pioneer BVLOS UAV flight since its creation in 2011. 

A decade ago, Delair’s DT18 became what the company said was the first drone in the world to obtain airworthiness certification for BVLOS flights in civil airspaces – that initially coming in France. It now believes the ability to fly UX11 in BVLOS operations without prior authorization will make it a must-have aerial asset for businesses and government agencies regularly flying long-distance missions.

The company describes the craft as a backpack portable drone weighting just 1.4 kgs – payload included – and which can be set up and deployed in under five minutes. The hand-launched UAV features a patented “bird-like takeoff and landing” design. That configuration allows it to depart and touch down vertically in almost any mission scenario. Typical uses include linear inspection, safety missions, and topography operations. 

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Already flown during several hundreds of thousands of previously approved BVLOS missions around the world, Delair’s UX11 drone boasts 80 minutes of air time, enabling longer-range outings than rivals. To allow current users of the craft to benefit from its new categorization, Delair is offering to adapt those UAVs to permit affixing the C6 marking.

Since the start of 2021, enterprise drones and larger non-professional UAVs in Europe have been categorized by EASA classes defining their respective operational scenarios under the markings of C0 to C6. Delair says qualification for C6 use makes the UX11 the first professional-rade drone to make that rank, which under the standardized EASA STS-02 rules allows it to fly BVLOS missions in any member country without needing prior approval. 

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For those reasons, Delair CEO Bastien Mancini calls the development a major milestone for the company and clients, and an enormous step toward the simplified, routine operation of BVLOS missions in Europe.

“With this C6 marking, DELAIR becomes the benchmark BVLOS drone manufacturer in Europe,” Mancini says. “This marking will allow us to address the entire European market… Drones are much more frugal in terms of energy consumption and carbon emissions than traditional means such as helicopters. We are proud to provide our customers and their operators a reliable, rugged drone (that’s), from now on, adapted to the latest European regulations.”

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