In recognition of the increasing risk of operating in shared airspace near airports, the Aviators Code Initiative has released a working paper, “Improving Cockpit Awareness of Unmanned Aircraft Systems Near Airports,” which describes a method to provide pilots of manned aircraft with enhanced awareness of nearby small UAS in certain kinds of airspace.
Small unmanned aircraft systems challenge manned aircraft pilots in terms of see and avoid, according to initiative officials.
“Small UAS cannot be detected by manned aircraft systems without supplemental equipment that is not yet generally available or practical,” officials say in a prepared release. “Nonetheless, sUAS risks to manned aircraft tend to increase in proportion to their proximity to those aircraft, and are typically greatest at or near airports.”
The paper explains a method that communicates operational information regarding Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) to manned pilots operating nearby.
“Such airspace is designated within UAS Facility Map (UASFM) segments that specify maximum altitudes authorized for certain sUAS operations without further coordination with the controlling facility,” officials note. “This information can be crucial to flight safety.”
“This proposal serves as a non-exclusive, interim safety mitigation until the widespread deployment of effective sUAS traffic detection and avoidance technologies,” officials noted. “The method may also apply in the future to other airspace proximate to airports.”
Benefits of the proposal:
- It requires no additional ground or airborne surveillance equipment;
- It exploits the widespread use of electronic flight bags, tablets, and fixed avionics displays in the cockpit; and
- It could be implemented quickly throughout the NAS.
Comments on the proposals in the working paper are being accepted.
The working paper builds upon the foundation of the Aviators Model Code of Conduct initiative, now known as the Aviators Code Initiative (ACI). Over the course of 17 years, the ACI has developed best practices for general aviation pilots, instructors and maintenance technicians, and more recently, unmanned aircraft pilots with its UAS Pilots Code. Developed through a volunteer effort, each is available as a free public service along with supporting materials at www.secureav.com.