Advancements in the Study of Close Encounters between Drones and Airplanes

Advancements in the Study of Close Encounters between Drones and Airplanes

Researchers have made significant progress in accurately counting and objectively analyzing close encounters between drones and airplanes. This new method eliminates the reliance solely on pilot sightings, providing a more comprehensive understanding of these incidents. The study, conducted by Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and Unmanned Robotic Systems Analysis (URSA), examined a large dataset of piloted aircraft operations and small unmanned aerial system (sUAS) flights near Dallas-Fort Worth Airport.

During the research period, spanning from August 2018 to July 2021, the researchers identified 24 near-midair collisions (NMACs) where drones came within 500 feet of piloted aircraft. Most of these incidents occurred within 1.5 miles of a runway approach or departure zone. To enhance safety, the researchers recommended extending the runway exclusion zone for drones at high-risk runways from 1 mile to 3.5 miles. This modification would align with the typical flight altitude of small unmanned aircraft, which generally do not exceed 400 feet.

Previously, information about close encounters between sUAS and airplanes relied on subjective reports from pilots, which had limitations. The new method developed by Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University researchers allows for the objective gathering of detailed information about NMACs. The researchers utilized an Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) detection device connected to an antenna located at Dallas-Fort Worth Airport’s Terminal C concourse. This device collected telemetry, altitude, and launch location data for each sUAS within a 30-mile radius. Combined with ADS-B and Mode S messages transmitted by airplanes, the researchers used URSA’s Airspace Awareness Platform (AAP-NMAC) software for data analysis and visualization.

The researchers hope that these findings will contribute to enhancing aviation safety by reducing the risk of collisions between unmanned aircraft systems and piloted aircraft operating in the National Airspace System. By providing objective data on close-call events, operators, government agencies, and airlines can better understand sUAS operations and prevent potential conflicts. Operations near airports, in particular, pose a higher risk due to the critical flight phases and high workload levels for pilots.

According to the FAA, there were approximately 1.46 million sUAS operating in the National Airspace System in 2020, with projections of reaching nearly 2.4 million by 2025. With the proliferation of drones, including those available to the general public, there are obvious risks associated with their usage. However, many drone operators are unaware of the rules they must follow, which can lead to unsafe situations.

Out of the 24 NMACs identified in this study, three sUAS were responsible for more than half of the encounters. Furthermore, in 96% of the cases, the drones were operating above the maximum permissible altitude for that area. These findings highlight the importance of education and compliance among drone operators. In an effort to enhance safety and security, the FAA will soon require all drone operators to have a remote identification (RID) signal. This requirement, expected to be implemented in the near future, will provide further objective information about near-miss encounters between drones and airplanes.

The research conducted by Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and URSA represents a significant advancement in the study of close encounters between drones and airplanes. With the objective analysis of NMACs, a more accurate understanding of these incidents can be obtained, leading to improved aviation safety measures. By increasing awareness among drone operators and implementing remote identification signals, the risks associated with unmanned aircraft systems can be mitigated. Ultimately, this research serves as a foundation for future studies and initiatives aimed at the safe integration of drones into the National Airspace System.


Articles You May Like

The Revolutionary Method of Wavefunction Matching in Quantum Physics
The Ultimate Hangover Cure: A Milk Protein and Gold Nanoparticle Gel
Unprecedented Rate of Carbon Dioxide Increase Found in Ancient Antarctic Ice
Cancer Detection at an Atomic Level: A Breakthrough in Early Diagnosis

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *