Volocopter completes piloted air taxi flight

On Aug. 29, the last SESAR JU Gulf of Finland (GOF) U-space demonstration took place in Helsinki, Finland, showing how integrated air traffic management (ATM) and unmanned traffic management (UTM) systems enable urban air mobility; Volocopter performed a successful piloted air taxi flight at the Helsinki International Airport, fully integrated into both the ATM and UTM system, demonstrating how they can act in combination to enable a safe and efficient air taxi operation in urban environments, including airports.

Volocopter performed a successful piloted air taxi flight at the Helsinki International Airport on Aug. 29. SESAR Photo
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Drones are proliferating throughout the world’s airspace and as their numbers rise, the importance of finding a way for them to safely coexist with manned aircraft is growing increasingly urgent. The SESAR JU GOF U-space flight trial number seven demonstrated how ATM and UTM can jointly enable safe and efficient air taxi operation at an international airport.

“As air traffic continues to rise in number and kinds, especially with the arrival of unmanned aircraft and air taxis, the technology and rules for using especially Very Low-Level Airspace needs updating,” stated project coordinator Maria Tamm from Estonian Air Navigation Services (EANS). This is where SESAR comes into place and particularly the GOF U-space project for the integration of UTM into the ATM systems or connecting uncontrolled and controlled airspace. On Aug. 29, the demonstration at Helsinki airport showed that various systems are ready to safely and efficiently manage air taxi operations, their related services and subsequent interaction within existing aviation and airspace activities.

The successes of the recent GOF trials prove safe, integrated drone operations are possible, building upon established and existing systems in an open and interoperable environment. With a broad consortium of 19 members this project demonstrates that Europe is on course with its implementation of U-space, an initiative that aims to ensure safe and secure drone traffic management, taking into account the rapid growth in the use of drones.

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The GOF concept enables shared situational awareness for all aviation stakeholders. The success of the project is based on deep ATM experience of the consortium members, including three world-leading UTM technology vendors and two Air Navigation Services Providers, developing interoperability and data-sharing solutions which are aligned with SESAR’s overall U-space architecture. In addition to air traffic management, large-scale drone use will rely on scalable radio communication systems (e.g. mobile networks) and weather information, which are also trialed in the project.

GOF U-Space will present the result of all trials at the beginning of October in Helsinki and Tallinn respectively. These events will be open for the public, the exact dates will be announced soon.

This U-Space project is one of several research projects of the SESAR Joint Undertaking, which has received funding within the framework of the European Union’s Connection Europe Facility (CEF) program under grant agreement SJU/LC/343-CTR.

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