Thursday 9 February 2023

Dawn Aerospace Aurora Mk II operations out of Glentanner


The following extracted from the Canterbury Aero Club News

Dawn Aerospace is a New Zealand company based in Christchurch, developing reusable space transport technology.
We’re developing a spaceplane, which means our operations are pretty unique!
We’ve been operating out of Glentanner Aerodrome for the last year and a half.
To date, we have been flying with turbines up to 9000ft AGL, and we have always had observers to provide traffic deconfliction.
Our aircraft is known as the Dawn Aerospace MK-II Aurora (shown below) and it is a delta-wing, soon to be rocket-powered aircraft.
With a 2.4 m wingspan, and a total length of 4.8 m, the aircraft is smaller than the crewed light aircraft typically flown out of the aerodrome.
We have released a video showing what we have done with the aircraft over the last 18 months (YouTube link).

The MK-II in-flight
Soon we will be testing the aircraft under rocket power, then we intend to perform Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) operations, which means the aircraft can be flown outside direct sight of our observers.
With such a high-performance aircraft, the safety of fellow airspace users is our top priority.

Here’s the most critical information about our MK-II operations we’d like you to have:
  • The aircraft is remotely piloted and will be flown to very high altitude before gliding back to land at the aerodrome.
  • Ground-based remote observers will support take-off, landing, and circuit operations.
  • A NOTAM, which includes the area of operation, will be issued before operations. 
  • Flights will only occur during daylight hours.
  • Crewed aircraft have right of way over RPA aircraft.
  • Operations will be infrequent.
The Mk-II is equipped with a mode S ADS-B transponder and FLARM unit.
Aircraft with ADS-B OUT or FLARM units will be visible to the remote crew.
Strobe and navigation lights for enhanced visibility are used, and the aircraft uses a forward-facing camera system.
The remote crew also have a ground-based airband radio. We make regular broadcasts on the Southern Alps MBZ frequency (118.6) when within the MBZ and monitor Christchurch Information (CH INFO 123.5) when outside the MBZ.
The crew will respond as appropriate to other traffic within the vicinity with RPA position and/or intentions.
Ground-based observers will be used in the vicinity of Glentanner to complement the aircraft equipage in detecting aircraft.
Dawn will endeavour to operate during times of little traffic in the intended flight location and integrate with existing airspace users.
For more information or details, please don’t hesitate to contact Dawn Aerospace flight operations at or the phone number in the RPAS NOTAM when it is issued.

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