> our title:

Europe Looks to Integrate UAVs into Controlled Airspace

> original title:

Europe Looks to Integrate UAS into Controlled Airspace

(Source: Forecast International; issued September 21, 2011)

BRUSSELS --- At a workshop convened by the European Commission on September 13-14, over 200 participants called for the smooth integration of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) into controlled airspace.

The European Commission wants to adopt a harmonized approach to the development and integration of UAS into European airspace. The commission concluded that one problem was a lack of a regulatory framework. Therefore, in April 2011, the commission launched a new initiative to identify the necessary expertise and input for developing a policy and strategy for the future of UAS in Europe.

The initiative consists of a series of Panel Workshops held over the year. Each workshop has a different theme, ranging from UAS insertion into airspace, radio frequencies, and safety to the societal dimension (which includes liability, privacy and data protection as well as ethical concerns) and research & development. The final deliverable will be concrete recommendations for policy makers on how to develop the market and facilitate the integration of UAS into non-segregated airspace. Both civil and military aspects will be taken into account.

The September 13-14 workshop, led by EUROCONTROL, was the second in the series, and addressed the insertion of UAS into non-segregated airspace as well as radio frequencies. Coming from 22 states and six multinational organizations, the audience was made up of regulators, both civil and military UAS manufacturers and operators, and research institutions. More than 200 persons attended the workshop. The main conclusion of the workshop was that the EU should take the lead in preparing a harmonized and transparent European regulatory framework for UAS and establish a European UAS platform.

The workshop agreed an immediate step should be for the European Commission to issue a mandate to EUROCONTROL to develop, in cooperation with other agencies, a UAS Master Plan to include regulatory, air traffic management (ATM) and aerodrome/airport aspects for all UAS operators (civil, military and governmental non-military).

A third and a fourth workshop will be held at EUROCONTROL's headquarters on October 19 and November 16, respectively, on UAS safety and on societal aspects. EUROCONTROL, the European Organization for the Safety of Air Navigation, has as its primary objective to develop a seamless, pan-European ATM system that fully copes with the growth in air traffic while maintaining a high level of safety, reducing costs, and respecting the environment. EUROCONTROL comprises 39 member countries.