SESAR ERICA workshop: another step towards the integration of RPAS in controlled airspace

24 September 2021

On September 17th, in the frame of the SESAR PJ13-W2 ERICA project, Leonardo organised a virtual workshop titled “Accommodating existing IFR MALE RPAS in current A-C airspace” focussed on “accommodation”, one of the three themes of the project, about the insertion of existing RPAS into the non-segregated airspace in the short-medium term. The other two themes are the integration of RPAS in the long-term timeframe and the Detect & Avoid technology.

ERICA (Enable RPAS Insertion in Controlled Airspace) is a European Research Project funded by the European Commission through the SESAR Joint Undertaking, aimed at the insertion of Remotely-Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) into the Airspace Class A-C. The project started on December 2019 and will end on March 2023, with a consortium led by Leonardo of twenty active partners that includes Industry, Air Navigation Service Providers, Research Centers and Eurocontrol.

The workshop was intended to share the solutions and collect feedbacks from the audience, to achieve the widest acceptance from stakeholders and include their views in the solution development. The audience consisted in representatives from the Air Navigation Service Providers, military forces, pilots’ associations and the network manager (Eurocontrol).

To this aim, the workshop was organized in two sessions. In the morning session, after an introductory remark given by Ermanno Girardelli, ERICA Project Coordinator by Leonardo, Oliva Nunez, ATM Expert on RPAS by SESAR JU, introduced the “accommodation” highlighting the need to ensure that the initial demand for RPAS insertion be managed with safety as a priority. Then, Cedric D’Silva, Solution 115 Technical Leader by Thales, provided an exhaustive presentation about the accommodation concept and the approach pursued in the project for responding to the short-term user needs. The use cases for which procedures are in progress were illustrated. In the afternoon session, after the presentation of the accommodation use cases and the detailed procedures, all participants contributed to a fruitful debate that will be a valuable input for the project.