The SESAR Horizon 2020 PODIUM project demonstrated U-space services and technologies at Rodez-Aveyron airport at the end of June.

“For the PODIUM project, we have DT-18 fixed-wing drones,” explains Grégoire Faur, the DELAIR airworthiness manager. “The first drones authorised to fly beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) in France.” The DT18 drone flew different BVLOS scenarios in and out of the Class D CTR at Rodez.

"We were there to provide solutions, particularly for controllers," explains Alexandra Piot, the Airbus leader for the activities at Rodez. "Innovative tools for when they have drones in their CTRs." A key feature of the Rodez  demonstration was the use of an ATC collaborative interface developed by Airbus, enabling drone pilots to communicate with controllers via a track label on an integrated controller working position in the tower. The flight preparation and authorisation activities were performed using the Unifly system.

“Being able to see an echo like a plane, means in the future we could work on separating it”, enthuses Charles Dournel an air traffic controller participating in the demonstration. Throughout the demonstration, EUROCONTROL validation experts collected feedback on the ease of use and benefits of the system.

PODIUM aims to prepare a mature version of its demonstration report by the end of September, in time for a dissemination event in Brussels on October 17. Checkout this video for some insights coming out of the PODIUM demonstrations at Rodez.

Watch the video