Spain’s drone operations in controlled airspace triple in 2019 says ENAIRE

Spanish air navigation service provider ENAIRE has managed 255 drone flights so far in 2019, of which 192 took place in uncontrolled airspace, while the rest (63) were conducted in controlled airspace – triple the 23 operations in controlled airspace in 2018. Enaire has managed more than 1,000 drone operations since the entry into force in December 2017 of Royal Decree 1036/2017 regulating the civil use of drones.

The regions with the largest number of drone operations managed, in this order, are: Catalonia and Madrid, with more than thirty flights each; Extremadura and Andalusia, with more than 20 flights respectively, and the Canary Islands, Navarre, Galicia, the Basque Country, Castile and León and Castile-La Mancha, with more than ten flights each.

ENAIRE collaborates with institutions, companies and individual drone pilots in the management of these flights. Most notable is collaboration with the Spanish security forces and bodies including the Municipal Police of Madrid, Ertzaintza (Basque Police Force) and Mossos d’Esquadra (Catalan Police Force). This comes in addition to work with regional emergency bodies, such as the Valencia Emergency Response and Security Agency (AVSRE). ENAIRE ensures the safe coexistence of all aircraft in airspace including coordinating drone operations with varying procedures according to the type of airspace.

Flying a drone in airspace controlled by ENAIRE requires a prior aeronautical safety study to analyse and mitigate potential risks for all types of operations. The Joint Authorities for Rulemaking on Unmanned Systems (JARUS) has published guidelines on how to complete this Specific Operations Risk Assessment (SORA). To coordinate these safety studies, drone operators must contact ENAIRE’s Safety Division to enable the operator to request authorisation from the Spanish State Aviation Safety Agency (AESA). Once authorisation has been obtained, operators then contact ENAIRE’s Operational Airspace Coordination Department to coordinate the operation. On the day of the drone flight, the aeronautical alerts (NOTAM) in force must be checked and a flight plan submitted.

ENAIRE also provides drone pilots and operators with a specific website and the app, with aeronautical data and information to identify potential restrictions to flying drones in a given airspace in accordance with current legislation. This web application provides the operators of these aircraft help to plan the flight and read notifications and alerts before flying a drone.

(Image: ENAIRE)

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