ENAIRE performs the first verification tests with a drone at the Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport

ENAIRE, the national air navigation manager in Spain, has carried out the first verification tests with a drone inside the Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport. According to an ENAIRE press release, a drone flew over a 600-meter portion of the Airport runway 14R-32L at different altitudes between 3 and 20 meters above the runway.

The tests were carried out with the company CANARD Drones, creator of the technology used, with which ENAIRE has signed a collaboration agreement to carry out tests to carry out radio aid verification. ENAIRE also carried out tests at different facilities in Salamanca and at Vigo Airport during May.

The operation carried out is within an internal initiative of ENAIRE for the verification of the use of solutions that allow future actions with drones within airport environments. The measurements obtained by unmanned aircraft will reduce the workload for the current manned aircraft in charge of carrying out the calibrations of the active radio aids. The application of drones in this area will help in periodic maintenance, achieving greater efficiency and improving the reliability of the measurements by allowing additional maneuvers to those currently carried out using ground equipment.

Carrying out these tests required a complex process in which different ENAIRE departments participated (air controllers, operation technicians and Control Tower personnel, Flight Verification, Operational Safety, Operations Coordination, etc.) and the Airport (Operational Security, Operations, etc.), as well as CANARD Drones itself as the owner of the technology used.

The exhaustive preparation of the tests involved a process of interaction with CANARD Drones, coordinated through meetings between the different stakeholders in the strategic phase and with the use of constant radio in connection with the Control Tower in the tactical phase.

Carrying out these tests also required a rigorous safety study in which various departments of ENAIRE and the airport manager Aena participated. As a result of this study, it was determined that it was necessary to close runway 14R-32L and taxiways A11, A12 and A13 at the Airport. In addition, and in order not to interrupt the operations of the Airport, the time was chosen in which the lowest volume of traffic foreseen allowed the execution of the tests without penalizing the operation of the flights.

The agreement signed between ENAIRE and the Spanish company CANARD Drones is a first step within ENAIRE’s strategy for the development of the implementation of drones in Spain. Within the collaboration agreement, the flights made in Madrid continue with the work that has been done in other locations such as Vigo and Salamanca, where campaigns have been carried out previously with the same purpose.

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