20 abr 2020
Tips to coordinate drone operations
Planning an operation takes a long time, which in addition to the time required after the mission to register the flight time, inspect and maintain the material, check the obtained results, edit and post-produce the data and so on, results in more time than the duration of the flight itself.
This brief guide is based on the thousands of applications received, and although most of this advice may seem unimportant, it can save our department (ENAIRE's Airspace Operations Coordination Department) a huge amount of time, unnecessary processing and paperwork.
In short, you will save time when applying and we will take less time to coordinate it. Let's start.
- Check ENAIRE Drones to see if you have to coordinate the flight and if so, with whom. You will cut down on unnecessary procedures. This is especially important in case of emergency (but only those that are in accordance with Art. 44 of RD1036/2017). Operators required to provide support in these situations have a specific channel at their availability: ENAIRE SYSRED. However, this channel is only valid when you fly in ENAIRE's airspace, so you will have to contact the other providers when the flight is in their airspace, or no one when it is a non-controlled airspace and outside ATZ and FIZ.
- Read the instructions, there is a correct way of filling out the forms, and we need the data requested, no more and no less. You do not need to attach any other documentation such as the Safety Coordination Form (EAS), personal documents or your operator's or organisation's manuals. We will ask you for any additional information we need.
- If instead of using the web form you use one in Word format, please do not scan it before sending; the information will be more difficult to process and errors occur. Save it as a pdf from the Word document itself.
- The operator's reference is a unique code that should be assigned by the operator to each application. If the code would be the same in all applications, it would no longer be useful to find your application when forwarding a query or in the event of an incident. Most of you do not change the code or use the same code again in this applicant's field.
Dates and period of activity
- Always ask for more than one day. When encountering any unforeseen event, there will be room for manoeuvre and you will not have to apply for your operation again.
- In the activity duration field, indicate the duration of the operation and not the equivalence in minutes of the specified hours or days. Maybe your work day spans from 9:00 to 14:00 or requires certain conditions. However, if you have to carry out 3 flights of 20' minutes each, the duration will be 1 hour.
- Use correctly metres (m) and feet (ft) and the references related to land (AGL) or sea level (AMSL). Both units can be used indistinctly in AGL up to 1,000 ft AGL (300 m), but above this altitude, using feet in AMSL is more appropriate. You will almost always be limited to a maximum of 120 m AGL unless you carry out experimental flights or there are other types of restrictions.
- Choose the correct flight mode; it could determine whether you need to forward an application or not.
- When you are in a non-controlled airspace, you will not be required to send us applications for aerial work in VLOS/EVLOS or experimental flights in VLOS.
- Avoid unnecessary NOTAM.
- Previously coordinate your flight with other aerodromes or affected areas, as you may affect operations from other aerodromes. A segregation of airspace that encompasses an airfield will prevent other users from flying in it.
Area of activity
- Send the coordinates in correct format (degrees, minutes, seconds). This is the most common error and the one that we waste most time on, as we have to convert them or ask you to do so.
- Round up or down to avoid decimals.
- Simplify the work areas: the fewer points, the better. Consider the following:
1. The drone's flight pattern is not relevant to us, we only need the safety area, as it contains the area of operations, which in turn gives us your drone's trajectories
2. Use the correct scale, most operations cover from a few hundred metres to a few kilometres, that is, almost all operations can be planned using simple shapes, such as a circular or squared area. Look at the following images to see how to do it properly (operator scale and our scale)
- Sort the points correctly following a clockwise or counter-clockwise order in order to avoid making any strange shapes when representing your area.
- You must have clear the difference between aeronautical easements, safety distances and airport environment when planning.
1. Aeronautical easements are, in short, areas free from radio interference and obstacles in airport surroundings.
2. Safety distances, areas where drone flights are not permitted without prior coordination; see Art. 45 of RD1180/2018.
3. Airport environment, a land area surrounding an aerodrome or heliport where the associated airspace is used for manned aircraft flights whose mission is the departure from and arrival to the aerodrome or heliport in question.
- There are many tools available to you, such as Insignia, which enable you to export your areas in json format.
- Spanish Ministry of the Interior: Communication of RPAS operations over agglomerations of buildings in cities, towns or inhabited places or meetings of people outdoors.
- Catalonia: Notification to the Mossos D'Esquadra.
- Basque Country: Notification to the Ertzaintza.
- Natural Areas: Red Natura 2000 and the Ministry.
- AEMET's Aeronautical Meteorological Service: Weather forecast.
- ENAIRE Drone Services (look at the second box on the right; there you have a shortcut to all the page's documents).
- ENAIRE AIP.
- ENAIRE Ícaro XXI: To check NOTAM.
- ENAIRE VFR Guide: Aerodromes and most important visual flight rules.
- ENAIRE Insignia.
- ENAIRE Insignia VFR: Optimised for visual flights.