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Visitors to this summer's Royal International Air Tattoo in the Cotswolds are being offered the chance to pilot a revolutionary new aircraft in their world famous flying display.

FoSop, the manufacturer of the delta-winged R-49 'Seeker' claim that the pilotless aircraft is so easy to operate from the ground that they are offering one lucky visitor the chance to demonstrate it in the skies above RAF Fairford on July 20-21.

An Air Tattoo spokesman said the manufacturers were keen to demonstrate their aircraft for the very first time and after a series of quite stringent test flights, approval was given by the appropriate authority not only to fly the aircraft but also to permit it to be operated by a visitor on the ground."

A FoSop spokesman said that the cutting-edge technology developed to operate the R-49 'Seeker' was based around current COTS (Commercial Off-The-Shelf) flight simulator software that can be freely purchased by the general public.

He said: "It's a large bird but it's so easy to operate that you don't need any special qualifications or previous experience of piloting UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles). We'll be setting up a control centre on the flightline and inviting prospective 'pilots' to take part in a simulator test process to find the best operator. Once we have determined that, he or she will take control of the real thing.

"To focus the mind of the 'operator', and to make it more realistic, the person chosen to fly the R-49 Seeker will be required to occupy a fully-armed ejector seat."

Production of the R-49 'Seeker', is due to begin on the morning of April 1, 2014 with interest already being shown by a number of UK-based budget airlines.

General characteristics:

Length:28.7 metres (94ft 2ins)

Height: 6.9 metres (22ft 8ins)

Weight:Approx 34,000kg (75,000lbs)

Range: Intercontinental

Speed: 486kt (901km/h, 560mph)

Ceiling: 6,100 metres (20,000ft)

“It was an epic spectacle, as magical as anything you've ever seen in the West End, and as loud as anything you've ever heard at Knebworth.”

Jeremy Clarkson, Television Presenter

“All the thrills, excitement and noise of a Grand Prix, but in the air!”

Jenson Button, Formula 1 Racing Driver

“Probably the most complete air show Iíve ever been to!”

Al Worden, Apollo 15 Astronaut

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