ASNL and Skyports partner on UK civil aviation authority’s innovation sandbox project

Air traffic management provider ANSL and drone operations company Skyports Drone Services have partnered to develop plans to create a UK low-level Transponder Mandatory Zone (TMZ) in the West of Scotland. The project aims to facilitate safe and efficient equitable access for all airspace users, including both crewed and uncrewed aircraft, and forms part of the Civil Aviation Authority’s (CAA) Sandbox which provides companies with a space in which to test innovative airspace solutions.

NSL and Skyports Drone Services are working with the Innovation team from the CAA to create an operational safety case for Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) operations. This will enable the two companies to develop their plans and intentions for the TMZ operation and explore regulatory views and feasibility of the proposal, before formally submitting them for approval.  A key segment of ANSL and Skyports’ development work involves actively engaging stakeholders to seek ongoing feedback.

Jef Geudens, Head of Technology at Skyports Drone Services, added: “Participating in the Innovation Sandbox enables us to build on work we have already conducted throughout Scotland to facilitate a safe airspace for crewed and uncrewed aircraft alike. Partnering with ANSL as we continue this work allows us to combine our strengths, leveraging ANSL’s extensive experience in air traffic management and Skyports’ BVLOS drone operations to develop a permanent, low level airspace solution for the region.”

Frederic Laugere, Innovation Services Lead at the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), said: “Exploring the options of how drones can be safely and successfully incorporated into more of the UK’s airspace is a key project for the CAA’s innovation team and our sandbox work. It is vital that projects such as this take place to feed into the overall knowledge and experiences that will soon enable drones to be operating beyond the line of sight of their operator on a day-to-day basis, while also still allowing safe use of the air by other users.”

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