How Brazil plans to move eVTOL traffic management from visual to digital flight rules

By Eduardo de Vasconcellos, Msc.

Brazil’s aviation regulator DECEA (The Department for Airspace Control, an organization under SISCEAB – System for Control of the Brazilian Airspace, the country´s authority for Air Navigation Services) has recently published  a national UAM Concept of Operations  (PRENOR DCA-351-7) with comments to be submitted no later than March 31, 2024.

The CONOPs proposes to organize urban air mobility (UAM)/eVTOL airspace initially around current helicopter operations to allow for early integration; once eVTOLs are type-certified and in more general use, however, new airspace procedures and technologies will be required to allow for more extensive operations.

The CONOPS identifies the capability gaps within the current air traffic management system to handle eVTOL traffic in the expected quantities.  These include:

  • Not being able to rely on voice ATC instructions for autonomous eVTOL operations (currently not allowed in Brazilian airspace)
  • An inability to handle the expected UAM traffic demand using current separation standards – 5NM or 3NM, in exceptional cases.
  • An inability of the current ATC system capacity to handle the expected UAM demand for ATC services.

Under the new CONOPs, SISCEAB´s is proposing a number of significant changes to the current ATM framework, working alongside public or private UAM service providers.

Initially, current airspace access and ATC rules, weather and aeronautical information, and other prevailing rules will be applicable “as is,” with changes or add-ons being progressively implemented, along with the required regulatory support. It is anticipated that a new class of airspace be created, in addition to ICAO Annex 11´s A to G classes, and that a new flight rule be introduced, DFR – Digital Flight Rule, in addition to IFR and VFR rules, aiming at minimizing segregation and supporting reduced separation (planned for UML-4).

The new capacity and performance requirements shall be flexible, following each airspace volume´s operational needs, as provided in ICAO´s PBN Manual, Doc 9613. In more congested airspaces ADS-B IN and ADS-B OUT may be required, for higher pilot situational awareness. At lower traffic levels, only ADS-B OUT may be required, for traffic identification by the ATM system.

New separation requirements, which will deviate from current ICAO Doc 4444 – PANS ATM and DECEA ICA 100-37 provisions, shall take into account a combination of automated systems, communications technologies, and innovative regulations, aiming at maintaining the required safety levels.

Conflict resolution shall require a combination of V2V vehicle communications and V2I vehicle to infrastructure technologies, sharing real time position, speed, and flight trajectory data with neighboring vehicles and/or ground infrastructure, possibly, also, an ACAS device.

In the balance of the document, implications and requirements of the newly proposed airspace architecture to critical services and systems are presented and potential solutions discussed, including CNS, high-bandwidth low latency comms, AIS/SWIM, AFTM, SLOT, FUA, weather, cartography, FRA, and vertiport-related services, among other, concluding with a target maturity level description from UML-1 to UML-6, the proposed implementation plan and its main assumptions.

Airspace will be shared between a substantial number of eVTOLs and other crewed and uncrewed aircraft, integrated within an Uncrewed Traffic Management ecosystem (defined by DECEA in DCA 351-6 – BR-UTM ConOps, in 2022).

For further information on subject, please contact the author at

(Image: Shutterstock)

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