ATM Modernization, Unmanned

Will Drones be Coming to a Runway Near You?

By Nick Zazulia | January 16, 2018

SESAR project seeks to integrate drone operations at airports

An interactive mock-up of airport moving map (provided by NAIS) was integrated into a drone pilot ground control station. Photo courtesy of SESAR. (Click to enlarge)

A gaming exercise led by Italian air navigation service provider Enav explored the possibility of integrating the operation of large drones and remotely piloted aircraft systems at airports in a two-day workshop in December.

During the workshop, pilots provided by Single European Sky ATM Research and Enav safety and drone experts gathered at the Enav Airport Center in Naples, Italy, to examine the technical and procedural requirements that would allow drones to integrate with manned traffic at airports. The results from these exercises will be used in real-time validations Integrated Surface Management has scheduled for 2019.

SESAR’s position is that, with drones subject to the same rules and regulations as other airport users, the continued growth of commercial drone use makes integration with airports and air traffic control increasingly important for everyone’s safety and convenience. It state its aim is a solution that enables that incorporation with guidelines and contingencies and hope to use the information gained from these exercises to inform the next step toward that goal.

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