A HERON UAV, developed and built by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), has landed at Ben Gurion International Airport, becoming the first UAV to land in an international airport alongside commercial flights occupying civilian air space. The UAV took off from Ein Shemer Landing pad in Northern Israel, landed at Ben Gurion, and flew back to Ein Shemer (operated from the Ein Shemer control station).
Avi Bleser, VP Marketing & Sales of IAI military aircraft group said that the IAI’s LONG RUNNER operating system, which allows UAVs to take off and land automatically on long-haul routes (ranges of up to 1500 km and more) using satellite communications technology and a combination of accurate take-off and automatic landing capability, enabled the landing. He added that the landing and takeoff was approved by all the Israeli civil aviation regulatory bodies.
The HERON UAV has a carrying capability of 290 kgs and can be used for transporting medical supplies and emergency hardware to remote places and other areas where they are needed.