INVIRCAT open day of real-time simulations testing RPAS integration in TMAs under IFR

INVIRCAT investigates the integration of RPAS (often referred to as drones) into the existing Air Traffic Control (ATC) procedures and infrastructures within Terminal Maneuvering Areas (TMAs) under instrument flight rules (IFR).


To this end, in the last few months, the project carried out three real-time simulations. One simulation was performed at DLR, in Germany, one at Royal NLR in the Netherlands, and another one was organized by CIRA in Italy.


The main scope of the simulations was to validate the proposed operational concept, procedures and technological enablers, by testing them in and around small but important airports such as the Düsseldorf International Airport (ICAO: EDDL), the Rotterdam The Hague Airport (ICAO: EHRD), and the Bari International

Airport-Karol Wojtyla (ICAO: LIBD). In particular, the validations had the objectives of evaluating the user acceptability and safety of the operation in general, and more specifically of some particular aspects of the concept focussing on Automatic Take-Off and Landing (ATOL) procedures, C2 link and R/T latency, pilot handover procedures, phraseology, information provision, and the overall human contribution to the process.


The organisation of the validation sessions and some preliminary results were presented during the INVIRCAT open day, held on the 25th of January 2022 and joined by 45 external participants.

In addition to colleagues from the INVIRCAT consortium, companies such as EuroUSC-Italia, INDRA, Volocopter, and Dassault Aviation, and research institutions, like the French Aerospace Lab-ONERA and the University of South-Eastern Norway, attended the event. Also, representatives of EUROCONTROL, SESAR Joint Undertaking, NASA, ENAV (the Italian CAA), ENAC (the French National School of Civil Aviation), the Italian National Association of Air Navigation Assistants and Controllers (ANACNA), and the Aerospace District of Campania joined the open day.


Browse the presentations that were shared during the open day, or watch the video recording of the event below.


The final results will be published in the second half of 2022. In line with the validation plan of the project, they will be used for the consolidation of the INVIRCAT operational concept for IFR RPAS integration around airports and the associated requirements.