Unmanned, Manned Aircraft Tested Simultaneously at Airport

The European ARIADNA consortium has completed drone test flights in the presence of manned aircraft at an airport in Spain.

The ARIADNA project was developed by a consortium of companies and institutions in the Spanish aeronautical sector: Indra, a coordinator and industrial partner of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS); ENAIRE, manager of air navigation in Spain; CRIDA, a research center in air traffic management; and FADA-CATEC, a research center and UAS operator.

The flight program was held at the ATLAS Experimental Flight Center, located in Villacarrillo. The center has an associated airspace that can be segregated for such operations, says Indra.

In the first test, a drone called Viewer was deployed for various maneuvers on the airfield while the Indra MRI P2006T manned aircraft operated simultaneously.

A controller supervised the operation and gave separate instructions to each aircraft. The drone’s remote pilot, which monitored the aircraft from the ground at all times, had both aircraft’s position data via an ADS-B receptor, thus improving situational awareness of traffic in the area, explains Indra. Another drone was used in the second phase of flights – an unmanned helicopter called Logo.

The project is one of several demonstrations co-funded by the Single European Sky Air Traffic Management Research (SESAR) Joint Undertaking aimed at safely integrating drones into European airspace. SESAR’s goal is to modernize and harmonize air traffic management systems through the deployment of innovative technological and operational solutions.


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