First ever trans-Atlantic drone flight lands in UK

  • Published
Media caption,

The aircraft landed at 18:51 BST.

The first ever civilian-registered flight across the Atlantic by a remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) has touched down in the UK.

The General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) drone took off from the USA on Tuesday and landed at RAF Fairford, Gloucestershire at 18:51 BST.

The 3,760-mile journey was piloted by an operator located in America.

The MQ-9B SkyGuardian has arrived ahead of the Royal International Air Tattoo which begins on Friday.

The aircraft will be on static display during the show.

General Atomics chief executive Linden Blue said: "This historic event was a demonstration of the endurance and civil airspace capability of the MQ-9B SkyGuardian, and it is fitting to do this as part of the centennial celebration of the RAF.

"The successful flight of the MQ-9B is the culmination of the hard work and innovation of our dedicated employees, and the strong relationships that we enjoy with the RAF, the UK Civil Aviation Authority, the Royal International Air Tattoo and our UK industry partners."

Image source, GA-ASI
Image caption,
The MQ-9B SkyGuardian has a wingspan of 79 feet (24m) and can fly non-stop for over 40 hours

Paul Armstrong of General Atomics' partners Cobham Aviation Services, described the flight as "a significant and exciting event for both GA-ASI and for the future capability of the RAF".

MQ-9B SkyGuardian has a wingspan of 79 feet (24m) and can fly non-stop for over 40 hours.

It left its base in Grand Forks, North Dakota at 18:48 BST and covered the 3,760 nautical mile flight in 24 hours and two minutes.

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