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NHS Drones conflicting with light aircraft?

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NHS Drones conflicting with light aircraft?

Old 17th Oct 2020, 07:52
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NHS Drones conflicting with light aircraft?

I saw this news article this morning and wondered if any more technical details were available.

https://inews.co.uk/news/science/cor...ies-ppe-728099


The bit that concerned me was the "300 ft air corridor" between the hospital site in Chelmsford and the lab in Braintree. A direct route is mainly over open countryside but the approach to the lab passes within a very short distance of the active airstrip at Laindon. I'm not able to find much info about these machines, including any Electronic Conspicuity signals, but looking at their size a collision would be potentially catastrophic.

As this is likely to become much more common (Amazon etc ) does anyone here have a link to the actual operators so we can ask the question?
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Old 17th Oct 2020, 08:31
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The CAA are the regulator for this: see Articles 94

Below is a copy and paste from the CAA website;

The CAA regularly receives queries regarding who may impose restrictions on unmanned aircraft use and the land from which they are piloted. The CAA can only provide information on its own regulations and permissions process and not those imposed by other bodies.

As set out in CAP 722, a CAA permission only addresses the flight safety aspects of the flight operation and does not constitute permission to disregard the legitimate interests of other statutory bodies such as the Police and Emergency Services, Highways England, Data Commission, Transport for London or local authorities. It may also be the case that more than one body has an interest in a proposed flight.

The CAA cannot provide advice on what is, or is not, a legitimate interest or whether restrictions or fees are being lawfully imposed by other authorities. However, any authority or regulatory body should be able to identify the specific laws, regulations or bye-laws that empower it to regulate the use of UAS, or more usually, the land from which they are operated, much as the CAA has set out the regulations that it applies, above. We therefore recommend that if you are unsure of whether a restriction imposed by a body legitimately applies to your flight, you request that information from the relevant authority or regulatory body.

UAS operators and remote pilots are also reminded that ANO Article 241 provides that a person must not recklessly or negligently cause or permit an aircraft to endanger any person or property.

I'm sure that the Laindon strip operator's concerns will be respected. As a CAA permission is required for out of sight commercial drone operations any potential conflicts will need to be addressed
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Old 17th Oct 2020, 09:18
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I don't have time to check the NOTAMS right now but i believe there is a Temporary Restricted Area associated with that trial in order to address the issue of confliction with GA.
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Old 17th Oct 2020, 09:58
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there is a Temporary Restricted Area associated with that trial
Can't see that in Notams or AIS - also not showing on Skydemon - any link?
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Old 17th Oct 2020, 10:44
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NHS staff have set up a medical drone delivery service that makes it possible for the machines to carry Covid-19 samples, test kits and personal protective equipment between hospitals.
This is medical drivvel. Covid tests are sent twice a day in a BIG box. There is no urgency as the labs are not local, they are regional and they stack the incoming swabs for hours

PPE comes in big boxes by lorries. It isnt worth even using a large car. What on earth can a drone carry?

Hospitals have well established distribution systems. Deliveries in and out come from and go to multiple sites so having a drone between A and B is worthless. There are a very few urgent specimens and blood which are transported 24/7 by the blood transfusion service, using bikes and cars. This is very efficient and cheap as it uses volunteers. Even if the drone has the carrying capacity (blood is usually 4-5 Kg simply due to the temperature control and volume needed) what is the benefit? Who is going to control the drone? Where from? Who receives it? how do you get the blood from drone to patient as it must be kept in the cool box.....

Drones have been used with great success in the amazon and other countries delivering small items such as drugs to nurses who may be away from base for weeks and where there is no road network. This doesnt apply in the Western world. For it to work in the UK you need massive drones operating between 1836 hospitals in England alone. How many RAs will that need? Probably better to just close airspace below 1500 feet altogether
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Old 17th Oct 2020, 11:39
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I had assumed this was a stupid idea from a local individual but the Telegraph is now reporting ministers intend to set up an NHS Air Grid (NAG) across the UK.
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Old 17th Oct 2020, 12:40
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ministers intend to set up an NHS Air Grid (NAG) across the UK.
Hence my concern as the majority of my flying is in and out of airstrips just like Laindon. I would hope that such airfields aren't NOTAMed out of existance by increased drone activity.
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Old 17th Oct 2020, 13:24
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I have experience with negotiations in regard to airports and small aerodromes and local private farm strips. An airport authority is required to demonstrate that it has consulted those that may be affected by its development, has achieved an operating agreement and all parties have signed a 'letter of agreement'.

Any approved route must have a structure and rules associated with it. I would have thought a process similar to the above is likely. It must be obvious that a route of 3-400ft agl will affect more than just aviation interests.
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Old 17th Oct 2020, 14:48
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It's just been pointed out to me that there is a current ACP in progress for this trial.

https://airspacechange.caa.co.uk/Pub...alArea?pID=281


It clearly affects an established aviation facility but that doesn't appear to feature as far as I can see.
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Old 17th Oct 2020, 15:14
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Now managed to find the documents in the ACP (you have to click the step circles) and feel that GA has not been consulted here. Do the operators at Thurrock and West Hordon airfields realise just what this means to their ability to fly during the trials?

The sting in the tail would appear to be the drone operators request for an expidited future procdeure allowing rapid deployment almost anywhere.......
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Old 17th Oct 2020, 19:48
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There was a trial earlier this year where a drone transported PPE from Oban to Mull. Reported in press. As a trial, cargo was not necessarily what would be later carried in regular service.
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