in Aerospace / Events

Cranfield and Bluebear run first NBEC test flights

Posted 6 February 2019 · Add Comment

The first test flights to establish the principles for the National Beyond visual line of sight Experimentation Corridor (NBEC) have successfully taken place at Cranfield Airport.



NBEC is a collaboration between Cranfield University and Blue Bear Systems Research Ltd that aims to create an experimentation corridor that will enable drones and unmanned aircraft to fly in the same airspace as manned aircraft.

Blue Bear executed three-kilometre Extended Visual Line of Sight (EVLOS) race track flights within the Cranfield Air Traffic Zone, utilising their Blackstart Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) towards their facility in Oakley. Regulations currently require drones to operate within visual line of sight of the operator at all times. Under EVLOS conditions, observers are used to maintain the line of sight while providing situational awareness to the operator.

The NBEC partners believe the key to future drone operations is not segregation, but unification ensuring fair and equitable use of airspace for all. NBEC will provide a safe, managed environment for drone and unmanned aircraft experimentation which will work towards their integration into controlled and uncontrolled airspace.  The aim is to see the corridor eventually stretch across Bedfordshire from Blue Bear’s headquarters in Oakley to Cranfield University’s airport.

Ian Williams-Wynn, Managing Director of Blue Bear, said: “When fully operational, the NBEC will be operated with Blue Bear and Cranfield running their respective systems, and will create an environment that allows other companies to come and test their UTM (Unified Traffic Management) concepts in a safe, managed environment.

“These initial flights, enabled us to provide Cranfield Airport with reassurance from an operational safety perspective that the systems Blue Bear had developed and put in place are appropriate and compatible with Cranfield Airport operations.”

Professor Iain Gray, Director of Aerospace at Cranfield University, said: “The Government’s new aviation strategy green paper highlights the exciting potential of modernising the UK’s airspace. These initial flights, mark an important step in the realisation of NBEC, which will be a national asset that will support the journey to the creation of a Unified Traffic Management system.”

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) recently hosted the NBEC Team at its London headquarters, and provided the team with support and encouragement on their project and their staged risk, managed approach. Workup flights will be continuing at both ends of the NBEC Corridor throughout 2019.

During this first phase of testing, the Cranfield Air Traffic Zone was cleared of manned aircraft, to enable the project team to establish the principles for future integrated NBEC operations.

 

* required field

Post a comment

Other Stories
Advertisement
Latest News

G4S safe transportation recognised by BGC

G4S has been recognised for its outstanding commitment to safe driving practices in Iraq by Basrah Gas Company (BGC), after reaching a key milestone of safely transporting BGC employees 15 million kilometres with no major incidents.

UK Space Agency seeks GNSS solutions

UK organisations can express an interest in seeking funding to develop receivers for a future UK global navigation satellite system (GNSS), with the best ideas possibly in line for contracts under the Small Business Research

Vertical Aerospace flies eVTOL capable of carrying 250kg

Bristol-based startup Vertical Aerospace has revealed flight footage of an electric vertical take off and landing aircraft (eVTOL) capable of carrying loads of up to 250kg - the first company in the world to do so.

Airbus and Delta form digital alliance

Airbus and Delta Air Lines are forming a digital alliance to develop new predictive maintenance and health-monitoring solutions for airline customers worldwide from 2020.

50 airports now carbon neutral in Europe

Ahead of the COP25 due to kick off in Santiago de Chile next month, European airport trade body ACI EUROPE today gave an update on the progress airports have made to deliver on their commitment to reach 100 carbon neutral airports by 2030.

Birmingham Airport recycles unwanted suitcases

Birmingham Airport recently arranged its first suitcase collection as part of its new partnership with Newlife – the Charity for Disabled Children – wherein empty suitcases discarded by passengers are being donated to Newlife to be

ODU 0201311219
See us at
DSEI JP BT1605201119VIDSE BT1605060320FIL20BT010819260720ADSS1000DBT1706171019SMI GMS BT1906071119SMI FAV BT1006141119SMI ActiveP BT1206121119