Italian air navigation service provider ENAV has successfully performed the first live flight trial of remotely piloted vehicles (RPVs) at the Grazzanise Italian Air Force Base.
The trial was conducted using the Finmeccanica-Alenia Aermacchi’s Sky-Y unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) in order to assess the feasibility of integration of the UAVs into civil airspace.
During the trial, ENAV personnel performed a live demonstration with air traffic controllers simulating a normal civil airspace procedure for the Sky-Y RPAS.
The flight trial was part of Mediterranean ATM Live Exercise (MedALE) project, one of nine integrated remotely piloted aircraft system demonstration activities funded by the SESAR Joint Undertaking.
The instructions for route and altitude changes were designed to simulate typical interaction with normal air traffic in a bid to avoid conflict situations.
Moreover, the test saw emergency procedures, such as command and control link loss and loss of engine power.
Sky-Y is a medium-altitude long endurance UAV designed to for civil and military missions such as surveillance, ground monitoring, reconnaissance, fire control, detection and monitoring of boat traffic and signalling to shipwrecked mariners.
The RPAS was configured to support interaction between the pilot at the ground station as well as the civil air traffic controllers. This was aimed at demonstrating the possibility of managing an RPAS in nominal and emergency conditions.
In order to perform the trial, the Sky-Y was equipped with a display showing surrounding real traffic information through the automatic dependent surveillance broadcast IN (ADS-B IN) provided by Finmeccanica-Selex.
The modifications made to the drone were certified by the Italian civil aviation authority (ENAC), Alenia Aermacchi stated.
Image: Alenia Aeronautica-built Sky-Y medium-altitude long endurance drone. Photo: courtesy of Alenia Aermacchi.