The adaptation of ground-based safety nets for the integration of RPAS in controlled airspace

31 March 2022

Last week, a virtual open day was held to present the results of research into enabling the safe integration of remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) in controlled airspace (PJ.13, Solution #117). The research is part of the activities of the SESAR/Horizon 2020 project, ERICA.

“Remotely-Piloted Aircraft” (RPA) is a specific set of unmanned aircraft, which is remotely operated by a pilot in a control station, hence the term “Remotely-Piloted Aircraft System” (RPAS). RPAS are especially useful for repetitive tasks or situations where a human pilot might be put at risk. Situations could include floods, where a continuous monitoring of the situation is needed; or an accident at a chemical plant, where pollutants have been released into the atmosphere, making it too dangerous to fly overhead.

RPAS can also be useful in the everyday life of citizens for the transport of both small packages and bulk cargo, and for monitoring linear infrastructures, such as pipelines, power lines and railways tracks, among other applications. They are also very useful for emergencies, such as search and rescue or the delivery of medication or defibrillators.
Organised by Indra in collaboration with Leonardo and ENAV and bringing together more than 80 participants, the open day presented the outcomes of recent validation exercises on the solutions.  Ermanno Girardelli, Leonardo, Project Coordinator, presented an overview of the project and Alessandro Manzo, ENAV, Solution leader, illustrated the activities of solution 117, which is the part of the project dedicated to the integration of the RPAS in the medium-long term.

Indra’s validation exercise about ground-based safety nets


The exercise focused on the adaptation of the ground-based safety nets to manage conflicts involving RPAS operations in En-route non-segregated airspace. This exercise considered the RPA operations uncertainty and latency in Satellite-based voice communications with controllers. Short-Term Conflict Alert (STCA) and Area Proximity Warning (APW) ground-based safety nets adaptations were tested by running different scenarios with different thresholds: reference, moderate and high.

Do you want to know more details? Here you can see the video with the results of the validation exercise.