The objective of the project is to investigate the impact of Remotely Piloted Air Systems (RPAS) integration into non segregated airspace in a mid-traffic density environment. The project will propose and demonstrate procedures to achieve a safe multi-aircraft and manned flight traffic management. The impact on the traffic safety and regularity as well as on controller workload will be evaluated. In the same way the project will highlight ATM constraints to be taken into by RPAS systems. The project is based on trials of simulated and real flights.

Bordeaux Airport  © DGAC-DSNA / Vincent COLIN

Bordeaux Airport © DGAC-DSNA / Vincent COLIN

Real flights will be carried on at the Bordeaux- Mérignac airport. In 2012, Bordeaux airport handled 4.38 million of passengers and approx. 70,000 aircraft movement. It is a regional airport and it is not part of a broader airport system. Peak hours are around 25 movements per hour. Average traffic is around 10/12 movements an hour. Our real flights campaign will deal with the Approach part of air traffic control services. Focus will be placed on:

  • evaluating, in terms of safety and regularity, the impact of inserting slow flying RPAS (between 70 and 90 kt) into a non homogeneous traffic, as both civil and military aircraft types may be found at Bordeaux with approach speeds between 90 and 250kt,
  • evaluating the impact of RPAS non nominal modes (communication failure, command and control failure) on ATC performance.

Real Time Simulation (RTS) will be conducted on TMA/lower en Route airspace, in order to address a broader spectrum of situations. RTS will include a reference scenario with no RPAS and two RPAS scenarios: a “nominal RPAS” scenario and another one with non nominal situations (Return Home).

These scenarios will consist in simulations lasting approximately 40mn and RPAS scenarios will display 3 to 4 RPAS flights, of different RPAS “generic” types. These RPAS will have different approach speeds and some of them will be considered as using SATCOM, thus showing some lag in their behavior.

One output of these simulations is expected to be a generic Return Home procedure that could be turned into a standard by the industry.

It is also expected that we issue recommendations about:

  • flight planning,
  • possible ATFM specific processing for RPAS,
  • RPAS airspace accessibility…