The European research study task INVIRCAT recently published a first version of guidelines for drone flights in regulated airspace above airport locations. The so-called principle of operations (ConOps) explains which systems and procedures an operator need to have in order to be able to perform such flights safely.

Principle ConOps

In the future, unmanned airplane will significantly use existing airports to begin and land. This primarily issues larger fixed-wing gadgets that are utilized, for example, for goods transportation. In order for such drone flights to run securely in the vicinity of manned air traffic, these must be fully integrated into existing air traffic control (ATC) procedures.

From the SESAR-JU collaboration, research study group INVIRCAT was commissioned to establish a ConOps for such operations. A very first version of that was recently released. The ConOps describes how fixed-wing drones of various sizes can be incorporated into the terminal maneuvering location (TMA) and controlled airspace around medium to highly intricate airports.

RPAS in the TMA The

ConOps assumes several synchronised drone flights near other air traffic. For safety functions, the ConOps provides for the application of automatic liftoff and landing (ATOL) systems. After an evaluation round and simulations, the RPAS in the TMA-ConOps is planned to be made available in last type so that drone operators can integrate the procedures into their functional manuals.

(cover photo: Royal NLR)