In what is reportedly a world first, High Lander Aviation has received a license from the Civil Aviation Authority of Israel (CAAI) to authorize drone flights throughout Israel via its uncrewed traffic management solution, Vega UTM.
The “license to operate air traffic management units” was granted days after the regulator’s emergency ruling that drones can only fly in Israel if continuously broadcasting operational data to an approved UTM system.
The CAAI’s decision marks the first time that a UTM connection has been made a prerequisite of approval for drone flights, and the first time that a UTM provider had been granted the legal authority to provide this service.
High Lander’s Vega UTM is a software-only solution that creates control tower regions to monitor and display aerial activity within these regions in real time. The system autonomously approves and denies flight plans according to prioritization protocols, suggests flight plan alterations when needed, and provides operators with up-to-the-minute notifications of relevant airspace data.
The system gives a complete, consolidated picture of any defined airspace, enabling it to integrate with counter-drone systems for non-cooperative target recognition (NCTR) services and empower national authorities, public safety services and businesses alike to make informed airspace management decisions.
Drone operators can connect to Vega in one of three ways: by flying a drone with built-in Remote-ID (such as DJI’s Mavic 3 Enterprise Series), by attaching a Remote-ID transmitter to the body of their drone, or by connecting to Orion DFM, High Lander’s drone fleet management solution.
The CAAI’s regulation 10916, published on 23 November 2023, states unequivocally that it is forbidden to fly any drone with a net weight of 200 grams or over at takeoff in very low level (VLL) airspace if it is not connected to an authorized UTM network and continuously communicating with that network.
Specifically, a drone must broadcast operational data as defined by ASTM F3411-22a, which includes its serial number, time stamps, and its location, altitude, velocity and direction. The CAAI regulation states that this data can be shared with approved organizations such as the military, police, intelligence services and other homeland security forces, at their request.
“This is a significant milestone in the development of global aviation and we are extremely proud to be at the forefront,” said Alon Abelson, CEO and co-founder of High Lander. “The CAAI’s ruling is the beginning of a new era – we expect to see regulators worldwide following this lead and finally enabling uncrewed aviation to reach its full potential while maintaining safety.”
“We are very proud to see Vega UTM begin to fulfill the purpose for which it was designed – managing uncrewed aviation on a national scale,” said Ido Yahalomi, CTO and co-founder of High Lander. “The platform’s powerful monitoring, coordination and information sharing capabilities made it the perfect selection for the first recipient of this license, and we’re delighted to see its capabilities recognized by the national aviation regulator.”