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Sky Arrow USATandem Seat Aircraft


The Sky Arrow Line


History of the product

The Sky Arrow aircraft is the result of an important research program supported by the Italian Government. In 1990 3I obtained a research contract, called Rondine Project, from the Italian Government for the industrial design of a “remotely controlled aerial aircraft system”, the Sky Arrow. The Rondine project started in 1991 and ended in 1996 when the Sky Arrow was fully certified by the Italian Airworthiness Authority (RAI). The Sky Arrow has been the first all carbon-fiber aircraft to be certified for general aviation in the world.

In 1997 the Italian Government approved a company’s project for the design of a  system called RAWAS (Remotely Assisted Working Aerial System), which uses Sky Arrow aircraft as aerial platforms and aims to perform patrolling missions, environmental monitoring and territory control.


Read the articles

"Eyes In the Sky"

Alton Marsh, AOPA 2007

"Sky Arrow Special LSA"

Light Sport & UL Flight Magazine, Nov. 2006

"Affordable Aviation: No longer an Oxymoron!"

Tim Alderman, Sheriff Association of Texas

"Up, Up And Away"

Mary Wymer, Research Magazine 2004

"Yes, It Is A Real Plane"

Alton Marsh, AOPA 2000

"NOAA Technical Memorandum"

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

"The Sky Arrow ERA"



The Sky Arrow aircraft

The Sky Arrow aircraft has been produced since 1996 by Iniziative Industriali Italiane (or 3I), an Italian company with a long and successful experience in manufacturing FAA/FAR23 certified airplanes.

The Sky Arrow has two seats in tandem configuration, a layout that allows the pilots to have up to 300° of visibility. The wing is above the fuselage and a pushing propeller is placed behind the cabin, as a result  pilots visibility is increased. In addition, sensors and devices used for surveillance and research missions, usually installed in the nose or in the bottom of the fuselage, are not disturbed by the propeller wake.

The aircraft structure is made of fiber carbon and a lot of experience has been achieved around its design. In fact, the Sky Arrow has been the first all carbon-fiber aircraft to be certified for general aviation in the world.

The ERA and RAWAS Systems

RAWAS (Remotely Assisted Working Aerial System) and RAWAS/ERA (Environmental Research Aircraft) are systems developed for territory control, environmental monitoring and scientific research purposes. The aerial platform for these system is the certified version of the Sky Arrow, provided with special devices and equipments. These systems can be grated worldwide, according to each Country's flight regulations.

Some fields in which these systems have been applied are:

-   Low altitude territory aerial surveillance

-   Illegal migration control and unauthorized activities

-   Census of anthropical activities

-   Traffic flow control

-   Search for water and electrical energy leakages

-   Beach and coastal areas monitoring

-   Natural and environmental disaster monitoring and fire prevention

-   Crops growth monitoring

-   Aerial monitoring for pollution, ground surface contamination and environmental conditions

-   Detection of electromagnetic, nuclear and other harmful radiation

-   Detection of suspended particles and hazardous nocive gases

-   Photogrammetry

-   Map development

-   Special event TV broadcasting

Product and Service description

The applications mentioned above can be classified as follows:




Real time Acquisition of data of events, with their transmission to a Remote Center and Control Station. Used in case of both surveillance data and monitoring missions carried on for security and prevention purposes.


To provide the Center and Control Station with direct Real Time HD & IR images of the event monitored, in order to perform early detection of natural or man caused crisis with a short response time.

Aircraft Configuration

Aircraft is configured for territory and environment monitoring and equipped with electro-optical sensors on steer able gyro-stabilized platform.

Sector B/D


Remote sensing image acquisition. Aerial monitoring of territory resources, by means of pictures taken with the Multi-Spectral Land Mapping technique. The installation of the laser scanner allows three-dimensional surface data acquisition.


Used for land mapping, crop monitoring, vegetation and forest fires area assessment (sector B). Used for quarries, dumping sites and landslides monitoring.  Also used for environmental risks caused by human influence control (sector D).

Aircraft Configuration

Aircraft is equipped with a multi-spectral digital camera, a thermal digital camera , a high precision GPS and a laser altimeter to measure the distance of the aircraft from the ground.

Sector C


Selective air sampling and turbulence measurement to determine carbon fluxes and other greenhouse gases control.


Periodic monitoring of environmental pollution and its trend in specific areas. Measurement of pollutant fluxes on regional scale

Aircraft Configuration              

This activity is performed by the Sky Arrow ERA version. Some of the on board devices are a BAT-probe for wind and atmosphere turbulence, infrared open path gas analyzers, temperature sensors and a laser altimeter.

Value proposition

The ERA/RAWAS System, based on the Sky Arrow aerial platform, meets the requirements of the Local Public Administration, law enforcement and private organizations to control both the territory and the environment.

It offers several advantages:

-           it complements Earth Observation data for detailed on-time monitoring and on-line supporting of operational decision;

-           it integrates the traditional helicopter (rotating wing) equipment and it can be used for data-collection missions, that faster airplanes (fixed wing) cannot perform;

-          it allows operators to drastically cut operating and maintenance costs.

A fixed wing aircraft is the best choice for 200 Km (125 miles) range missions or when monitoring has to be performed by simply orbiting around the target. The most suitable aircraft for aerial monitoring must have STOL (Short Take-Off and Landing) characteristics in order to perform take-off and landing on short (e.g.: 300 m) grass type airstrips. In addition, it has to be able of circling at low altitude and speed (45 knots, 80 Km/h) and cruising at a sufficiently high speed (110 knots, 200 Km/h), in order to reduce the transfer time.

Sky Arrow presents all the aforementioned characteristics. These, together with its design specifications and flying qualities, place the Sky Arrow at the leading edge of aerial surveillance at medium-low altitude and speed.


The Sky Arrow, equipped with the ERA/RAWAS System, is currently being operated by the U.S. Government Institution of National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), research organizations and universities such as:

-          San Diego University (California, USA);

-          Alabama University (Alabama, USA);

-          Lund University (Sweden);

-          CNR-IBIMET (National Research Council - Institution for biometeorology, Florence, ITALY);

-          CNR-ISAFOM (National Research Council - Institution for agricultural and forest systems in the Mediterranean area, Naples, ITALY);

-          Tuscia University (Viterbo, ITALY);

-          Institute for Health Department - Rome University (ITALY)