2007 News Story

First Saudi-made UAV flight tested at King Abdulaziz University

The King Abdulaziz University yesterday test flew the first Saudi-made Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) over its Jeddah campus, the Arab News reported today.  UAVs are aircraft without an onboard pilot.

The craft, known as the Desert Eagle, is the brainchild of eight students in the university’s Aero-Engineering department and their tutor, Wael Harsani. It has been in the works for a year and a half.

The remotely-controlled plane is made of wood and aluminum, and measures 2.7 meters long and 2.9 meters wide from wing to wing. It can reach speeds of up to 30 MPH and remain aloft for around 21 minutes.

Harsani said that this is part of the project’s primary stage, and that stage two involves further development, including testing different nonconventional materials for the craft.

Rami Husami, one of the eight students who took part in the project, told the Arab News that his first encounter with a UAV was in the US in the 1990s when he was given a speeding ticket. “The officer pointed to a plane saying I had been busted by it,” he said.