SESAR OperA project to demonstrate piloted and unmanned operations in controlled airspace

Latvian air navigation service providers Latvijas Gaisa Satiksme (LGS) is participating in real-life demonstrations to validate complex Innovative Air Mobility (IAM) operations as part of the SESAR OperA project.

The OperA (Operate Anywhere) project aims to enable safe and efficient operations in all types of airspace (controlled, uncontrolled and U-space) and conditions by validating 3 different complex IAM – piloted air taxi and unmanned cargo – operations in real-life ATM conditions including contingency and non-nominal situations. It will stimulate the uptake of new sustainable IAM services by addressing air/ground integration and the critical transition steps from piloted towards automated flights for 5 key autonomy-enabling technologies at TRL7 (Technology readiness levels). In addition, it will ensure environmental sustainability compared to the next best transport alternative, and enhance it, by optimising flight routing for minimum noise footprint and aircraft energy utilisation.

Ultimately, it will seek to accelerate the deployment of IAM by addressing necessary standardisation, regulation and roadmaps, in synchronisation with the ongoing certification of the three participating European IAM vehicles and ensure social acceptance by targeted communication and dissemination activities. All of this will be done through three distinct and well selected demonstration activities involving Europe’s most promising IAM OEMs (Original equipment manufacturer).

LGS’ role is to support the validation of the concept providing the coordination of drone flight in uncontrolled and controlled Latvian airspace. The major challenge will be to synchronize and coordinate the activities with UAS Operator (Pipstrel Aircraft) and neighbouring ANSP (ORO Navigacija), in beyond visual line of sight operations.

According to the preliminary plan the flight(s) will be organized between two airports (Palanga and Liepaja), so it will be required to “fit” those flights into the regular and irregular air traffic at both airports and provide the necessary support during the flight in uncontrolled airspace. LGS will dedicate the tower air traffic controller for the whole duration of the project and FIS controller for the validation and trials part.

There will be an operational expert from UTM area, who will contribute to the review of the concept and to preparation and provision of the trials. The technical support will be provided by the engineer, who will assist the industry partners with integration of the technical solutions into LGS environment. The coordinator from LGS part will also act as a local project manager.

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