Sky Arrow manufacturer Iniziative Industriale Italiane S.p.A. trace their history back to Meteor S.p.A., a company founded by Furio Lauri in 1947. That company initially produced gliders, and supplied these to the Italian Air Force for training. In the late 1950's, Meteor S.p.A. began producing unmanned aircraft, and in the following decades was strongly involved with military application development and production. In 1985 that ended as the military arm was sold (to Italian Government Group Finmeccania). The company changed its name to Iniziative Industriale Italiane S.p.A., moved from Trieste to Rome, and concentrated on the civilian market as it branched out into offshore powerboats.
In 1989 the company participated in a government sponsored design competition for a remotely piloted vehicle (rpv) for a variety of aerial work - predominantly in observation. The now pilot carrying Sky Arrow resulted from this, and the prototype made its first flight on July 13, 1992. Primarily marketed as a sport and recreational aircraft, the aircraft is also used for training, research, and aerial surveillance.
Industriale Italiane S.p.A. supply the aircraft fully built up, or as a kit. Several versions are available. The original 450kg MTOW / 80hp Rotax powered 450T has spawned the 100hp 450TS (for the Italian Market) and 450TGS (for the German market). The 100hp powered 480TS is certified under Canadian regulations and has a MTOW of 480kg. The 500TF is aimed at the French market, and although only 80hp powered, is allowed an MTOW of 500kg. The Skyarrow family has since expanded into the 650T range. This has higher all up weight allowances (650kg as the designation suggests) and other design limits. The aluminium wing and other surfaces of the original design have been replaced with composite constructions. These are also now available for the 480T range. The 650T range (80hp TC and TCN, 100hp TCS, TCNS) was first certified in March 1996, and has now been certified in a variety of categories including for passenger operation, and is being considered for military 'ab initio' use.
The Sky Arrow made its first appearance in New Zealand in 1996. Three Sky Arrows now appear on the active register (as at July 1, 2001). They operate under the microlight classification with a MTOW of 450kg. One of these (EBR) completed a notable first, by crossing the Tasman - see below.
In July 1997 John Bolton Riley became the first person to cross the Tasman sea in an aircraft rated as a microlight. The aircraft was flown on July 24 from its base at Fielding to Kaitaia near the northern tip of New Zealand, across to Norfolk island, and thence to Lord Howe Island before making the final jump to Coffs Harbour in Australia. He then repeated the feat in reverse by making a return trip departing on August 4. More details on the flights can be found here .
Last Update:- 22 August, 2001
Data is for the Sky Arrow 480T (as per NZ microlight class regulations)
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