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Flight Testing Drone Contingencies during Runway Inspection in U-space Shared Airspace

Schwoch, Gunnar and Lieb, Joonas and Lenz, Helge (2023) Flight Testing Drone Contingencies during Runway Inspection in U-space Shared Airspace. In: 2023 Integrated Communication, Navigation and Surveillance Conference, ICNS 2023. ICNS 2023, 2023-04-18 - 2023-04-20, Westin Washington Dulles Airport, USA. doi: 10.1109/ICNS58246.2023.10124322. ISBN 979-835033362-6. ISSN 2155-4943.

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The uprising demand for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), including the commonly known drones, requires substantial changes to the existing airspace. To enable unmanned operations in a safe and efficient manner, the European Union aims to establish the service-driven U-space concept in their member states. This U-space concept provides the required airspace or geographical area on the one hand, and technological solutions for numerous UAS in the air without the requirements for a traditional air traffic management (ATM) on the other hand. To enlarge the application of UAS and U-space, the SESAR PJ.34 AURA project investigates the concept of a shared airspace between U-space and ATM. Part of this concept is a dynamically reconfigurable airspace based on the demands of both traditional aviation and UAS, especially in areas of high demand or at the borders of the airspaces. This paper discusses the flight testing of a dynamic airspace reconfiguration in an airport environment during a runway inspection operation of a camera-equipped drone. To this aim, a drone mission along the runway has been planned and conducted at the Magdeburg-Cochstedt Airport, now serving as National Experimental Test Center of Unmanned Aircraft Systems of the German Aerospace Center (DLR). The described flight testing was part of a joint exercise of DLR and The Royal Netherlands Aerospace Centre (NLR), in which the impact of UAS emergencies on air traffic controllers has been under investigation. To that aim, air traffic controllers in The Netherlands were managing simulated inbound and outbound traffic at Rotterdam airport. A portion of the airspace along the runway has been assigned to a virtual U-space environment to enable a simulated runway inspection. As baseline scenario, a drone flight along the planned part of the runway and back to the launch area has been conducted. In a second flight, an emergency landing of the drone due to a malfunction has been performed to investigate the impact of such a contingency on air traffic controllers. This contingency resulted in a temporal extension of the U-space portion of the airspace, and required suitable actions from the air traffic controllers, such as diversion or holding of arriving and departing manned air traffic. The actual drone flights have been conducted at Cochstedt in a safe environment with the aim to translate the flight status and the UAS position to the simulation environment in The Netherlands. This enabled a realistic drone operation with actual drone flight characteristics and reasonable response times by the ground crew. Due to local restrictions and differences of the airport environments, this required a coordinate transformation and scaling of distances. For example, as flying in visual line of sight was required in Cochstedt, the distances and consequently also the ground speeds have been doubled to compensate for the significantly shorter runway at Cochstedt. Further, the drone’s position has not only been transposed to Rotterdam, but also rotated relative to the respective runway directions. By this, the drone could be displayed at the controller working positions in the Rotterdam environment and even in the virtual view from the tower as if it was flying on site. The paper describes the use case for the drone mission, and the preparations at the exercise site due to described differences and restrictions. The particularities of the communication between exercise participants is under investigation, such as transfer of the required data to be displayed in the simulation environment, and the necessities to organize, conduct and harmonize the activities at remote locations, i.e. Germany and the Netherlands. Further, the coordinate transformation and the matching of the airport environments is described. The exercise conduction and impressions from the respective working positions are presented. The paper concludes with highlighting the benefits of such a flight trial in this context, and the provides initial solutions for challenges that have been encountered during the trials.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/192339/
Document Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)
Title:Flight Testing Drone Contingencies during Runway Inspection in U-space Shared Airspace
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iDORCID Put Code
Schwoch, GunnarUNSPECIFIEDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0001-7507-7131UNSPECIFIED
Lieb, JoonasUNSPECIFIEDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0001-7095-2435UNSPECIFIED
Journal or Publication Title:2023 Integrated Communication, Navigation and Surveillance Conference, ICNS 2023
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:No
Gold Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:No
Keywords:Advanced Aerial Mobility (AAM), UAS Traffic Management (UTM), Contingency management, Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)
Event Title:ICNS 2023
Event Location:Westin Washington Dulles Airport, USA
Event Type:international Conference
Event Start Date:18 April 2023
Event End Date:20 April 2023
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Aeronautics
HGF - Program Themes:Components and Systems
DLR - Research area:Aeronautics
DLR - Program:L CS - Components and Systems
DLR - Research theme (Project):L - Unmanned Aerial Systems
Location: Braunschweig
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Flight Guidance
Institute of Flight Guidance > Unmanned Aircraft Systems
Institute of Flight Guidance > Pilot Assistance
Deposited By: Schwoch, Gunnar
Deposited On:26 Apr 2023 09:46
Last Modified:24 Apr 2024 20:53

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