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Altitude Angel

Old 21st Sep 2020, 11:33
  #21 (permalink)  
 
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No way would they have thought of it. Only you are capable of realising that there's a massive tract of land with lots of planes on it near Heathrow. And that where there are lots of planes that they might take off and land. These drones will be operating so high that they will probably interfere with the orbit of the moon
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Old 21st Sep 2020, 11:41
  #22 (permalink)  
 
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I have some experience working with zipline in Rwanda who use drones to deliver blood and urgent medical supplies, I can try to comment on some of these comments
  • These drones (with a 1Kg payload) fly a few 100' up and cannot be heard (or easily seen) from the ground. This so-called 'lower airspace' is a key resource that I predict governments will be looking to exploit.
  • That's below pretty much all manned aviation, except around airfields of course
  • Zipline use corridors, which are pre-agreed flightpaths, but there's lots of them, to 100's of hospitals/clinics and they are very tightly defined. There is a failsafe whereby the drone shuts down and parachutes itself to the ground if it finds itself out of the corridor. I believe that has never actually happened except in demo.
  • They fly a pre-determined route, but ATC is aware of them and can (and regularly does) ask them to hold station by orbiting if there is a chance of conflict.
  • Rwanda/blood is an extremely good use case - it's a small but very hilly country with poor roads and blood has a short half life but can save can save a life. They aim to have the blood in the air within 20 minutes of the request and a typical outward flight is 20 minutes. So 40 minutes vs up to 24 hours by road.
  • I agree the use case for my Amazon order may not be so compelling
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Old 21st Sep 2020, 12:59
  #23 (permalink)  
 
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Whatever our personal preferences for click and collect etc, it is worth knowing that Amazon has a corporate goal (according to the head of their drone programme) of 30 minutes from click to drop. Other large internet retailers will be looking at similar targets. The environmental lobby (and the Government) will also be interested in UAV emissions (noise and energy consumption) compared with the outputs from the multiple diesel vehicles currently delivering to your doorstep. It is going to happen, and it is a question of how, not when.

It is very tempting to view all this through a current ATC-driven lens, which is what we know, but what is being developed is a completely different system, much to the disgust of the ATCOs. It will not require positive (active) human control because these platforms are designed to self-separate within a UTC environment. The technology for that is rapidly maturing and this trial appears to be part of the process. As for the masts, I gather some of them could be the size of a bee-hive, other terminals might be using existing 4G and 5G masts, assuming the anti-vaxxers and Covid-denial crew don't burn them down.

I would be very surprised if the CAA would allow a trial if it was thought that there was an increased risk to other airspace users, especially CAT. Exactly how 'detect and avoid' will operate isn't clear from the statements - hopefully we will get to find out soon.
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Old 21st Sep 2020, 15:18
  #24 (permalink)  
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what is being developed is a completely different system, much to the disgust of the ATCOs
We ( ATC) have been involved since the outset on the UTM systems and always have advocated for segregated airspace , which is basically what these corridors are .Basically as long as they keep away from airports and stay outside controlled airspace we are fine with the concept.
But the drone delivery problems are elsewhere :
The first problem lies in the mental conception of people not familiar with aviation that there is nobody below 500ft while the reality is different .. Helicopters and UL gyrocopters use that airspace regularly as well as hot air balloons and others larger aircraft like fire fighters aircraft ( think Canadairs picking up water on lakes and rivers ) and the standard concept of see and avoid does not work with drones.
The second problem is noise. It is extremely annoying with the current quadro copters . The Australia experiment ( Camberra last year ) is worth reading and had led the company ( Wings) to stop the experiment while the regulator is thinking what to do next .
The 3rd is public acceptance: In remote regions , or scarcely populated areas there is probably a real benefit for drone deliver for high value items (e.g. medicines, electronics, etc..) where a 30 min delivery is versus 3-5 days by road ,and there people acceptance might be high . , however in dense populated areas and suburbs, the noise factor and privacy concerns will be a huge issue to resolve .

Last , Bezos was promising Amazon Prime drone deliveries in 2013 already to happen within 2 years everywhere on the globe .We are now 7 years later and it is still for tomorrow...
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Old 21st Sep 2020, 15:55
  #25 (permalink)  
 
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Interesting Lawsuit in the works

Gliders do occasionally land in farmers' fields.

I am waiting for the legal fallout from the first glider collision with a drone

That said there is work afoot to have Flarm capability in drones so that Flarm equipped gliders can detect them.
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Old 21st Sep 2020, 17:51
  #26 (permalink)  
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Yes forgot to add gliders making out of airfield landings , I should know I fly them every week during Summer
On Flarm , first it is not a certified system , cannot be due the frequencies it uses, so cannot be mandated ( dixit EASA) but secondly what can you do at 100 Km/h or more against a drone ? The drone has to avoid you , not the other way around. The detect and avoid technology must (and will) be in the drone .
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Old 21st Sep 2020, 18:27
  #27 (permalink)  
 
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I don't think the proposed concept can really be described as "segregated airspace".

It's more akin to what the CAA describe as "Non-segregated BVLOS".

In their words: "a technical capability which is equivalent to the ability of a pilot of a manned aircraft uses [sic] to ‘see and avoid’ potential conflictions - this is referred to as a Detect and Avoid (DAA) capability".
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Old 22nd Sep 2020, 18:44
  #28 (permalink)  
 
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All of a sudden itís deemed safe to fly aircraft (unmanned) at low altitude in the proximity of people and structures, interesting.
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Old 22nd Sep 2020, 19:36
  #29 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
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Another thought...if the drones are low-flying, they're going to be susceptible to bird strikes throughout the flight. Can they be fitted with sensors and firmware for 'see and avoid' WRT birds? Airliners can usually survive birdstrikes, and perform a controlled emergency landing where necessary. What are the likely effects of birdstrikes on drone engines/motors and overall structure?
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Old 23rd Sep 2020, 08:07
  #30 (permalink)  
 
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So, the question to be asked is: Where shall this end.

If the scenario is indeed parcel delivery, hazard to other man made airborne equipment will be of minor interest, I postulate.
Due to the amount of traffic needed and its closenes to human settelments other issues will dominate:
- Environmental issues like noise and hazards to biological air traffic participants - large (birds) or small (insects).
- Hazard to persons and property on ground due to failure of equipment or collisions with above.
As small as the failure probability might be, the sheer amount of drones needed will make this a relevant factor.

So basically two scenarios are possible:
This will remain an application for a small niche (like the one DB pointed out) - a peaecful coexistence with GA might be possible, but better not buy stock of any startup.
This shall become a replacement for the white, yellow and brown vans - for noise and environmental protection these things must fly much higher and GA traffic will be displaced from lower airspace.

So we GA pilots must fight it.
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Old 23rd Sep 2020, 14:28
  #31 (permalink)  
 
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Yes, the results of being hit with at least a couple of kilos falling from 100-200 feet, with possibly high-speed sharp rotors on the corners are likely to be pretty severe or fatal;
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Old 23rd Sep 2020, 17:15
  #32 (permalink)  
 
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To quote from #22 about the trial in Rwanda,
There is a failsafe whereby the drone shuts down and parachutes itself to the ground if it finds itself out of the corridor. I believe that has never actually happened except in demo.
One would hope this to be an essential requirement of any trial over populated areas.
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Old 23rd Sep 2020, 17:24
  #33 (permalink)  
 
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I would not want have one crash landing on me or my car or my roof - even if the parachute works. 2kg @ 1500fpm is still quite like a brick thrown at you.
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Old 23rd Sep 2020, 17:28
  #34 (permalink)  
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There has been already such accidents : one in France last year , still investigated by the BEA : Camera drone over a 200.000 crowd music event . Drone malfunction message, pilot lost control on recovery ,fell on crowd , 2 persons injured ,No parachute on that one .
https://www.leparisien.fr/faits-dive...19-8126028.php

One would hope this to be an essential requirement of any trial over populated areas.
One would think so , another good question for our Altitude Angel friend here .
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Old 23rd Sep 2020, 20:45
  #35 (permalink)  
 
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Does anyone else perceive a hidden motive, flying pilotless passenger aircraft in drone corridors and then reimaging GA airspace for that purpose ?
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Old 23rd Sep 2020, 21:39
  #36 (permalink)  
 
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Given that that's the stated object of the exercise, it's hardly a "hidden motive".
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Old 23rd Sep 2020, 22:49
  #37 (permalink)  
 
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Sallyann1234

In Rwanda this failsafe mode is fine due to what I would consider low population densities enroute. In downtown Basingrad, it is not so much, since, once under the parachute, the vehicle is not controllable. There are plenty of companies out there operating SUAVs without parachute fail safes under approved safety cases.

The parachute as a failsafe has its place but is only one part of a solution.
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Old 24th Sep 2020, 09:21
  #38 (permalink)  
 
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Absolutely agree, the parachute can only be one partial mitigation. And from my point of view flying a SEP in the same airspace, a drone hanging from a parachute is actually a bigger hazard.
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Old 24th Sep 2020, 16:29
  #39 (permalink)  
 
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I don’t get drones, they are useful for short duration photography, they could drop things over a short range but duration is too short to go much beyond the boundary of an average town. When it returns to the parcels base in that town for a reloading and battery change, it all sounds complicated to me and as for transplantation organs there is usually no great rush as they are packed in ice and a motorcycle outrider deliver quickly.

Commercial drones are going to be regulated for airworthiness and could be quite expensive to operate compared to delivery vans, Amazon pay less than £1 to deliver a parcel in the U.K. hard to see a saving.
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Old 24th Sep 2020, 18:55
  #40 (permalink)  
 
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Sallyann1234

But only briefly!

And anyway, your SEP will never normally be below a drone flightpath, so from an aircraft conflict point of view it seems like a good solution. Probably not so good when it crashes through your conservatory though.
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