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Drone consultation: UK CAA

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Drone consultation: UK CAA

Old 15th Mar 2017, 07:35
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Drone consultation: UK CAA

The Global UAV market currently is thought to be worth US$4bn, and is predicted to grow to US$100bn or more over the next ten years.


The UK CAA view is that drone operations “must be as safe as manned aircraft”. As drone use increases the regulatory requirements for using a drone are likely to converge with CAA Air Law for manned craft. UK government had a consultation looking at regulations for the safe use of drones. In particular, the need for registration, insurance, transponders and "traffic management systems" (ADSB, anyone?).


The consultation closed today at 11:45 am; and I wish I had been aware of it sooner. Did anyone post?


Anyway, I am watching out for publication of the results of this process.
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Old 15th Mar 2017, 08:50
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The advent of drones has the potential to change the nature of the use of the lower airspace at a time when the whole of Air Traffic Management itself is in the process of change.

The US has been considering this for some time and interesting research and development has been conducted by NASA on the concept of Unmanned Air System (UAS) Air Traffic Management (ATM) i.e. 'UTM'. Details of their work so far can be found at the NASA hosting site:

https://utm.arc.nasa.gov/

In the top left had corner of the opening page can be found the link to a whole series of documents and presentations:

https://utm.arc.nasa.gov/documents.shtml

The first reaction to the issue of drones was to segregate them - a short sighted policy doomed to failure as their capability and potential started to become apparent. Clearly, the wise policy is one of integration; moves to that end, for RPAS sharing the IFR airspace, have been developing in ICAO and elsewhere for some time as well as the conditions under which Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) operations can be conducted. As we are seeing with other autonomous vehicles, progress on that front has a certain inevitability.

As John has indirectly pointed out, the essence of inter-operation - between drones, and drones and aircraft, rests with the ability to 'sense and avoid' and 'Collision Detection and Resolution'. For, as has been evident for some time in VFR conditions, 'see and avoid' has limitations which have to be addressed.

That there is an issue with 'see and avoid' is evident in the advent to the market of non-regulatory solutions such as FLARM and PilotAware; systems that were ahead of the move in the US for mandating of ADS-B by 2020 (check out the FAA dual frequency ADS-B solution (1090 MHz and UAT 978 MHz)). These proprietary systems have the functionality of ADS-B Out and In and collision detection and avoidance - elements of which are only just being trialled by the Airlines under SESAR. FLARMS can make use of its Terrain and Obstacle Database (eTOD) for a more integrated approach to collision avoidance - another initiative that is just becoming an ICAO Standard.

However, this issue is not going unnoticed in our world as the RAeS Specialist Rotorcraft Group have made it a subject of their July conference 'Technology Friend or Foe - operations in an increasingly complex environment' along with leveraging Performance Based Navigation (PBN). Subjects which are of particular interest to the Para-public and GA communities:

https://www.aerosociety.com/events-c...friend-or-foe/

These are subjects which are important to all of us and are worthy of continued debated on these pages and elsewhere. It is noticeable that our voice has not yet been heard on these issues which have the potential to 'eat our lunch' in Aerial Work and see us squeezed out of an increasingly crowded lower level airspace by an activity with a more important financial imperative.

Jim
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Old 15th Mar 2017, 11:31
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I fly a Phantom 3 quadcopter (or UAV) - I hate the word drone - for fun/amateur film making but as a retired professional helicopter pilot I hope I'm responsible enough to know where not to fly it. NATS have brought out an excellent app for Android and iOS called Drone Assist which graphically shows all kinds of restricted/prohibited airspace. There is also a 'Fly Now' option where you can file a flight report with NATS and they will create a temporary circle around your GPS position so others know you are operating there.

There is also a very good unofficial website - and in one or two ways better than the NATS app - which shows the same airspace: No Fly Drones but how many amateur UAV operators will know what some of the terms such as MCH CTR:118.575 SFC-3500ALT mean!
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Old 15th Mar 2017, 12:44
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it wasn't a UK CAA consultation - so don't look for it there - it was a government consultation from the DfT - to guide future government national policy - not just on safety
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Old 15th Mar 2017, 16:15
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If you want to see the questions (consultation closed today) and the backing papers they are here
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Old 4th Apr 2017, 10:55
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And another round: a new enquiry launched 30 March - this time calling for input on the regulations:


"The Transport Committee launches an inquiry into civilian drones. The aim of this inquiry is to consider how the benefits of drone technology can be maximised within a robust safety framework."


The Committee has called for written submissions, with particular interest in ideas for:
  • The safety and security risks posed by drones;
  • The role of technology in enabling safe and sustainable growth in the civilian drones sector;
  • The likely effectiveness of key government proposals in its recent consultation, including pilot training and the proposed online registration scheme;
  • The current enforcement arrangements for misuse of drones in the UK;
  • Insurance issues and actions needed to create a viable market for drones insurance; and
  • The economic growth potential of the drones industry in the UK and the government's role in enabling that growth
[MOD: any chance of altering the title? As has been pointed out, I erred in attributing this consultation to the CAA; it is the Transport Committee. Thanks]
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