WATMC 2022: “We are in a marathon”: the tasks facing EASA in certifying USSPs by 2023

“The more we work on the guidance material the more we realise the gaps we have in issues such as matching performance requirements for a mature U-space airspace with services or defining the latency requirement of network ID,” said Maria Algar Ruiz, Program Manager Drones at the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), speaking at the World ATM Congress in Madrid.

The agency is working its way through the 2,600 plus comments it received from the publication of its December 2021 Acceptable Means Compliance and Guidance Material (AMC & GM) (https://www.unmannedairspace.info/emerging-regulations/easa-publishes-u-space-acceptable-means-compliance-and-guidance-material-proposals/) and Maria Algar Ruiz could not guarantee all the granular requirements of certified U-space operations would be available in the next AMC & GM edition, due for publication in September.

There are several major tasks to be completed.

First, EASA is pushing industry and standards bodies to develop standards to connect the flight information management system (FIMS) to the U-space service provider (USSP).

Second, EASA has to become competent to certify USSPs to manage U-space airspace.

“In U-space there are no controllers, no towers; the company may be based in one place but may be providing services somewhere else. Cyber security is going to be key.” The agency will also have to develop the capability to be able to automatically approve updates and changes.

“We have developed a task force to which we hope all member states will nominate experts so we can all agree on how to certify USSPs,” she said. This will be a complex task. The certification system will have to take account of different levels of required performance for USSPs to manage ten operations or 10,000. This means understanding the performance level of USSPs not just on the day of certification but for continual performance.”

“We need to leave our comfort zone,” said Maria Algar Ruiz,” to be sure we can automate the checking of these services.”

Under the current timetable the task force will need to provide its output in November if EASA is to be able to start certifying USSPs ahead of the entry into operation of the U-space regulation in January 2023. But she remained confident the deadline would be met.

 

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