Kitekraft receives Permit to Fly at Night and Automatically without Personnel on Site

Posted on
May 24, 2024

Munich, Germany, May 24, 2024: Kitekraft, the pioneering developer of airborne wind energy systems (a.k.a. flying wind turbines), proudly announces today that it has received the operational authorization by the German Federal Aviation Office (Luftfahrt Bundesamt, LBA) as an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAS) under the regulatory framework of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). The permit includes authorization to fly at night, fully automatically, and without personnel on site, marking a pivotal moment for the company's path to commercialization.

The permit includes authorization to fly at night, fully automatically, and without personnel on site

The approval, awarded by the LBA, is proof, that Kitekraft's commitment to innovation and safety within the field of airborne wind energy aligns with LBA’s requirements for safety. This recognition is a crucial step towards Kitekraft’s commercialization.

A highlight of this permit is the approval of Kitekraft’s in-house developed Anti-Collision Lights (ACLs), which are mounted redundantly on both the kite and the ground station. All ACLs of kite and ground stations blink synchronized in a double flash pattern, enhancing visibility, and ensuring safety during night operations. A pilot of another aircraft approaching will thus be able to visually identify the ground station and the kite as one system.

Another highlight of this permit is the authorization to fly fully automatically and without personnel on site, due to Kitekraft’s inherent safety features and fault tolerant design principles. The technical term for this is Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) operation. This allows Kitekraft to operate its systems already like the intended commercial application.

This is the first such permit granted for a rigid kite based airborne wind energy technology

Dr.-Ing. Florian Stappenbeck (b. Bauer), Co-CEO and CTO of Kitekraft, expressed his enthusiasm, stating: “This operational authorization marks a major achievement for Kitekraft and enables us to further advance the future of airborne wind energy. This is the first such permit granted for a rigid kite based airborne wind energy technology. We are proud to pioneer the development and regulation towards safe and fully automatic airborne wind energy systems. I would like to thank our counterparts at LBA for their professional and constructive cooperation, which I believe will continue to be very beneficial for the industry moving forward.”

Under this operational authorization, a Kitekraft system is classified as a UAS within the regulatory framework of EASA, Article 12 of EU Regulation 2019/947, thus making this permit seamlessly extensible to new locations across all EASA member states (i.e. most of Europe). Further countries have been adopting very similar frameworks and rules. Additionally, the authorization is extensible from the current demonstration kites to larger commercial kites.

This new permit allows Kitekraft to extend its current testing operations significantly and enables the progression towards a product-sized pilot system and commercial operations as it greatly reduces regulatory risks to implementation.

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Posted on
May 24, 2024

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