The Demonstration Flight Campaign has been performed from 7 to 10 December 2015 at ‘De Kooy’ Den Helder Airport. The Schiebel S-100 CAMCOPTER® flew several missions during which the NLR AirScout Detect And Avoid (DAA) system capabilities were demonstrated. The intruder aircraft were a Netherlands Coastguard Dornier DO228 airplane and a RNLAF Alouette III helicopter.
The missions replicated a common coastguard operation in the North Sea area. The purpose of the demonstration was to show that the seamless integration of RPAS in non-segregated airspace is possible using relatively simple DAA system functionalities and straightforward communications with Air Traffic Control (ATC) with as little as possible impact on airport operations.
While performing a surveillance like operation within the mission area, the RPAS was under the control of the ATC. The (intended) intruders flew deliberately towards the Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) to force the AirScout DAA system to generate an evasive manoeuvre trajectory to maintain sufficient separation. For safety reasons the actual encounters were performed within segregated airspace and with a vertical separation between the RPAS and the manned aircraft of 500 ft. The AirScout DAA system could recognize the actual (intended) intruder aircraft and simulated the same altitude to force the evasive manoeuvre.
The remote pilot was throughout the whole flight in full control over the aircraft. The remote pilot could have taken over control in case the on board DAA equipment would not have adequately reacted to a potential safety issue. However, this was not necessary because the AirScout DAA system performed as necessary.
AIRICA made a major step towards the safe integration of RPAS in non-segregated airspace. The project has successfully demonstrated the RPAS Detect And Avoid functionality during the execution of a Coastguard SAR mission. During the preparation and execution of the demonstration a lot of experience has been gained on several different subjects such as: regulations, organization, ATC interaction, airport involvement, and technical issues. Although adverse weather conditions prevented flights at the final demonstration day, it can be concluded that the preparations and previous flights during the Demonstration Flight Campaign at ‘De Kooy’ Den Helder Airport have been very useful both in result as in gaining experience with the integration of RPAS in civil airspace.