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Drone officially operated in UK civilian airspace

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Drone officially operated in UK civilian airspace

Old 15th Oct 2015, 21:37
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UAV officially operated in UK civilian airspace

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-34538727 Drone tested for an hour in UK civil airspace - BBC News


A reasonably astute coverage of a drone being controlled by NATS through civilian airspace today in the UK south coast. Covers scenarios of "link lost" where the drone must autonomously locate and avoid conflicts (TCAS equipped ??).


I'm still not convinced. What about sudden PANs or missed approach scenarios?

Last edited by eppy; 16th Oct 2015 at 22:45.
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Old 16th Oct 2015, 07:15
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Unfortunately, this industry is reactive and not proactive like it should be.

It will take a drone to take out an airliner before anything drastic changes. I have a stern hatred for drones because it seems like they have just appeared out of nowhere with no real use but to annoy airline pilots globally.
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Old 16th Oct 2015, 07:40
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The so called "drone" is actually an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS), as defined by UK CAP 722.

The Watchkeeper is not TCAS equipped, even if it had been it would still be restricted to segregated airspace (ie Restricted Area, Danger Area, or in this case Class A airspace). In common with other present day UAS it is not equipped with a certified "sense and avoid" system whereby it can sense the presence of other airborne traffic (ie gliders, other manned aircraft, parachutists) and take avoiding action. It therefore cannot comply with Rules of the Air Regulations in respect of avoidance, and consequently has to fly within segregated airspace where other traffic can be kept away from its immediate vicinity.

The other issue previously mentioned is "lost link" whereby the controlling station loses the data link with the UAS. In the case of the Watchkeeper it is pre-programmed to take a course of action should a lost link occur. In this case it will either proceed to a holding fix and remain there until contact is re-established, or proceed to an aerodrome or other location (its departure point or an alternate) and land.
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Old 16th Oct 2015, 08:13
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At this week's RAeS conference to mark 100 years of accident investigation in the UK, the AAIB said that they have already used UAVs in lieu of helicopters at 16 accident sites to obtain aerial photos of wreckage, ground marks, etc in the immediate aftermath of an incident.

Particularly impressive was the 3D fly-around that they showed of the Blackbushe Phenom crash site.
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Old 16th Oct 2015, 08:37
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This probably gives me away to those that know me but I narrowly avoided an RA on a UAV recently that had entered the hold at the airport I was making a procedural arrival at. I was passing 9,000ft cleared to 6000ft and this chap was coming right at me at 8000ft.

Fortunately it had a Mode C transponder fitted else we would have almost certainly hit it.

The ralationship between military and civilian aviation in that part of the world is very one sided....
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Old 16th Oct 2015, 09:30
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Unfortunately, this industry is reactive and not proactive like it should be.

It will take a drone to take out an airliner before anything drastic changes. I have a stern hatred for drones because it seems like they have just appeared out of nowhere with no real use but to annoy airline pilots globally.
Actually, the drone industry is getting better. Many modern drones have coding in them that will prevent them flying near airfields and will make them land if they try to approach an airfield.

Of course, you get idiots in any area: people racing Porches along public roads; irresponsible gun-owners; people who wantonly pollute. Most drone owners are responsible.

Among other things, drones can be used to get beautiful aerial photography and video. It should be possible for all to co-exist.

FWIW, I have a drone which I fly out in a quiet part of the country. Even so, on one occasion I was surprised by a Eurocopter flying low (probably 200') and fast where I was flying.
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Old 16th Oct 2015, 09:39
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Drone crashes into Wallace Monument - BBC News
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Old 16th Oct 2015, 10:31
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Lets put this whole "drone" issue into perspective.

The Watchkeeper UAS is not a model aeroplane weighing a few KG that you buy on line or some guy down the pub, its max take-off weight is around 485 KG. Operation of the aircraft is regulated by the MAA using trained and thereby competent pilots, again not by idiots who may be trying to impress their mates and who also have no idea about controlled airspace, rules of the air etc..

To fly in controlled airspace it must comply with ATC instructions, just as if it was a manned aircraft. It is accordingly required to maintain the ATC assigned level, and if necessary radar vectors. So no chance of bumping into it, unless you are incapable of complying with ATC instructions and don't have TCAS! (Watchkeeper is SSR transponder equipped)

So please no more uninformed comments about drones on this thread!

What has been achieved by the Watchkeeper team at West Wales Airport (its home base) is another significant step forward in the development of the UAS industry in the UK.
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Old 16th Oct 2015, 14:32
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I'm indebted to Russ Niles of Avweb for an extraordinary article headed 'Radio Gun Disables Drones'
http://www.avweb.com/eletter/archive...t=email#225013

It starts
A non-profit corporation with a long history of developing new technology ... has come up with a way to harmlessly disable drones that are flying where they aren't supposed to be flying.
The corporation is Battelle - I'm ashamed to say I'd never heard of them. But the article is illustrated with a promotional vid. When I'd watched it, I had to check to make sure the date wasn't 1 April. It looks too good to be true, and we know what that means...

But no, it seems kosher. Amazing.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zX4XXLb_Vuw

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Old 16th Oct 2015, 15:35
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Jamming communications with a remotely piloted vehicle - yes, what could possibly go wrong?

In some cases you'll trigger the vehicle's return-home function - which may or may not work correctly because there's no way in hell a high energy directed jammer is going to have no impact whatsoever on GPS - or you might simply cause the vehicle to land. Or you may cause it to fall out of the sky. You might damage the onboard electronics to the extent the vehicle becomes uncontrollable.

For RPAS being piloted near sensitive facilities - well, just go find the pilot, for multirotors they won't be that far away. As noted, pilots in the industry (including hobbyists and "I just bought this drone from Maplin/Best Buy" pilots) are becoming more aware of limitations on where they can fly, and the industry is trying to provide technical solutions to preventing vehicles from flying in controlled airspace, though this is hampered by the diversity of laws that need to be complied with depending on territory, and the lack of international consensus on RPAS regulation. Poor access to airspace data isn't helpful, either.

As noted in the article this is a large format RPAS (big enough to have an airworthiness certificate and SSR transponder). It's great to see trials being done on airspace coexistence - reactions like "DRONES ARE EVIL" etc don't help anyone in either industry.

I wonder if those who mentioned close calls with drones filed an AIRPROX/similar?
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Old 16th Oct 2015, 16:52
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I'm with TCAS FAN here. This is not a "drone" as such; it's a UAV (or RPAV if you prefer) which is a whole lot different. There is a thread on here concerning the drones people are talking about. That is where most of these posts belong.
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Old 16th Oct 2015, 17:46
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Originally Posted by Herod View Post
I'm with TCAS FAN here. This is not a "drone" as such; it's a UAV (or RPAV if you prefer) which is a whole lot different.
Few activities are more pointless than arguing about definitions.

Google "UAV strike" and then "drone strike" and you'll find roughly 200 times more hits for the latter.

Then tell everyone that they're wrong.
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Old 16th Oct 2015, 18:29
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In that case your going to hate this!

Lilly Camera

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Old 16th Oct 2015, 19:36
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Superb glad rag,
But all the activities depicted in that video are totally pointless. You go to places like that to escape technology, why bother filming yourselves climbing a hill?
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Old 16th Oct 2015, 19:56
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why bother filming yourselves climbing a hill?
Because people take photographs of themselves in front of places of interest (or even of just themselves).
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Old 17th Oct 2015, 17:48
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Wake up & smell the coffee?

The challenge of interoperability in controlled airspace is difficult when trying to integrate autonomous & pilotless vehicles (I.e. UAV/RPV/Drone) with aircraft being flown in conjunction with ATC. For a moment, consider an alternate future....with manned & unmanned aircraft all under computer control. Road trials of driverless cars have proved so far that it's the cars with drivers that cause collisions and so it's easier for all vehicles to be automated. Extend that concept to 3D aviation....
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Old 18th Oct 2015, 16:49
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Originally Posted by TCAS FAN View Post
What has been achieved by the Watchkeeper team at West Wales Airport (its home base)
Had to google that one, Aberporth!
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Old 18th Oct 2015, 17:36
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Originally Posted by BDiONU View Post
Had to google that one, Aberporth!
Good beer though.

I think.

gd bless Mr skyflash.. .... and ......
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Old 18th Oct 2015, 18:47
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BDiONU

Its West Wales Airport, not Aberporth. MOD Aberporth manage the Cardigan Bay Danger Area complex. They have no business affiliation with West Wales Airport, which is run by a private limited company and has become a world leader in the operation of Unmanned Aircraft Systems.

The former Aberporth aerodrome was licensed as a civil aerodrome in 2002, becoming West Wales Airport.
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Old 18th Oct 2015, 20:39
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The challenge of interoperability in controlled airspace is difficult when trying to integrate autonomous & pilotless vehicles (I.e. UAV/RPV/Drone) with aircraft being flown in conjunction with ATC. For a moment, consider an alternate future....with manned & unmanned aircraft all under computer control. Road trials of driverless cars have proved so far that it's the cars with drivers that cause collisions and so it's easier for all vehicles to be automated. Extend that concept to 3D aviation....
Oh no! Our jobs! Our pensions!

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