Autonomous Flight Milestone for New Zealand

| Aerospace Testing

Merlin Achieves Stage of Involvement (SOI) 1 Milestone with Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand

The Merlin Pilot is on its certification pathway for safety-critical software, positioning autonomous flight into the local regulatory process

The Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand have concluded their review of Merlin’s first stage of involvement (SOI 1) for its autonomous flight technology for the Merlin fixed-wing aircraft and have approved the Plan for Software Aspects of Certification (PSAC).

Reacing this milestone significantly reduces risk and puts the Merlin Pilot on a viable path to validation and certification. In the CAA system, this is the first civil certification of software; the CAA’s four step certification process ensures safety-critical software achieves in-air operability.

The Merlin Pilot’s CAA Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) is on a concurrent validation pathway with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) under the Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement.

“We have been working hand-in-hand with the CAA and achieving the SOI 1 regulatory milestone allows us to rapidly, safely and effectively integrate the Merlin Pilot into our skies, transforming the way goods and people move around the world. SOI 1 is the critical step of this process and we’re proud to be the first to accomplish this stage of certification progress,” said Matthew George, co-founder and CEO, Merlin.

“We will continue to undergo rigorous evaluations by the CAA ensuring that we’re following the plans set forth in SOI 1. We’re confident that with each SOI we achieve, we will set a strong foundation for FAA validation of the CAA’s certification processes,” he continues.

Following a final, successful evaluation from the CAA, Merlin’s software will be considered DO-178C compliant. The DO-178C, or Software Considerations in Airborne Systems and Equipment Certification is the primary document by which global certification authorities approve all commercial software-based aerospace systems.

Jonathan Newell
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