On 29 August, partners in the SESAR JU Gulf of Finland (GOF) U-space project successfully completed a series of piloted air taxi flight trials at the Helsinki International Airport. The flight trials demonstrated the feasibility of connecting conventional air traffic management (ATM) and unmanned traffic management (UTM) or U-space systems to enable urban air mobility.

During the trials, the piloted taxi was fully connected with air traffic control at the airport, as well as two U-space service providers working in the same geographical area, with data exchanges taking place in real time between the systems.
The flight trials are one of seven demonstrations that the 19 members of the GOF project have undertaken to demonstrate that safe and integrated drone operations are possible, building upon established and existing systems in an open and interoperable environments.

Together the partners have pooled their expertise to  develop interoperable and data-sharing solutions which are aligned with SESAR’s overall U-space architecture. In addition to air traffic management, large-scale drone use will rely on scalable radio communication systems (e.g. mobile networks) and weather information, which have also been trialed in the project.

As air traffic continues to rise in number and kinds, especially with the arrival of unmanned aircrafts and air taxis, the technology and rules for using especially very low-level airspace needs updating,“ stated project coordinator Maria Tamm from Estonian Air Navigation Services (EANS).This is where SESAR JU comes into place and particularly the GOF U-space project for the integration of UTM into the ATM systems or connecting uncontrolled and controlled airspace.