Largest drone flown in Ireland in Clare demo

Largest drone flown in Ireland in Clare demo

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The CGT45 SLT unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) lifting off at Spanish Point – Photo: © Pat Flynn 2018

The largest drone ever flown in Ireland has carried out its first European test flight in Co Clare.

The company that designed the CGT45 SLT unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) wants to establish Clare as a European test centre for its drones.

A-techSYN, which designs and builds unmanned aerial systems (UAS), launched its UAV business in the Shannon Free Zone near Shannon Airport in 2017. The company forms part of the Shannon Avionics Cluster.

Yesterdays demonstration was held at Spanish Point airfield in front of Clare Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection Mr Pat Breen; representatives from the Turkish Embassy in Dublin; Shannon Group as well as members of the Irish Coast Guard, Civil Defence and other interested groups.

A-techSYN’s CGT45 SLT is one of the first UAV’s to use electric engines for take-off and landing and a combustion engine during fixed wing flight. The event was the first demonstration flight in Europe for the CGT45-SLT.

A company spokesman confirmed: “We are planning to setup Clare/Spanish Point as one of the UAV and Drone Test Centres in Europe. The UAS business is a most promising sector with job opportunities for people not just with higher degree of education but also for high school graduates.”

“We believe this was first UAS flights of this size in Ireland. We invited Universities and potential important customers from across Europe who we already met during our promotion activities,” the company added.

“The GCS operator and UAV and Irish Air Corps pilot Oisin McGrath who is now the first Irish UAV pilot to perform a flight with a UAV over 25 kg in Ireland. The CGT45-SLT is a VTOL (Vertical Take-off and Landing) UAV with a wingspan of 4.5m, an endurance of 6 hours and a payload capacity of 4 kg,” the company added.

The drone took off from Spanish Point airfield shortly after 2.30pm and flew out over the coast before returning to the field again.

The CGT45 SLT comprises a complete system with Ground Control Software, hardware, tracking antenna and even a Flight Simulator that can be used to train new operators easily and safely. The UAV is also equipped with several safety functions such as return to home, redundant C2 links, battery and power generator, and even an ADSB transponder.

With continuous support of IDA, a-techSYN set up its business in Ireland in 2017. The company is one of the few UAV companies in EU which uses its in-house developed flight controller on its own-design and production UAV, with its self-developed GCS Software.

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Chief Reporter Pat Flynn has worked as a journalist for almost 30 years. His career began during the late 1980s when, like many aspiring radio presenters of the time, he worked for local pirate radio stations in Clare and Limerick. Pat joined Clare FM in 1990 where he worked as researcher initially and later presented several different programmes including the station's flagship current affairs programme. He was also the station's News Editor and Deputy Controller of Programmes. Despite leaving in 2003 to pursue a career as a freelance journalist, he continues to work with the station to this day. As well as being the Clare Herald’s Chief Reporter Pat is also freelance journalist and broadcaster, contributing to Ireland’s national newspapers and is a regular contributor to national broadcasters.

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