SESAR INVIRCAT project releases final ConOps for remotely piloted aircraft in terminal area

The European INVIRCAT research project has released its final definition of operational and technical requirements in Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) Terminal Manoeuvring Areas (TMA) at airports under Instrument Flight Rules (IFR). The document describes the final Concept of Operations (ConOps) for the integration of RPAS into the existing ATC procedures and infrastructures following two years’ research and test activity. The ConOps has been validated through real-time simulations and assessed by the project’s advisory board. It builds on previous SESAR research focused on developing the regulatory framework.

The report presents the final and complete set of requirements applicable to the INVIRCAT reference architecture for the integration of RPAS into TMA and airports under IFR, also considering the current legal framework.

This document updates the preliminary requirements which were already defined according to the simulation results and also new operational and technical requirements. It includes an analysis of the adaptability of these requirements to the current legal framework and transforming some of them into proposals for the future regulation.

The publication sets out a complete list of valid requirements for the integration of IFR RPAS into the existing ATC procedures and infrastructures within TMA and at airports and to compare them with the existing legal framework. To ensure the free circulation of RPAS, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has developed common European rules, but due to the novelties introduced by the INVIRCAT project, some of them will not be adjusted to the current regulation, thus becoming possible recommendations for the future legal framework which will have to be adapted as RPAS integration progresses.

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