The Polish Air Navigation Services Agency (PANSA) perfectly understands changes that are taking place in the modern day airspace. One of these changes involves the dynamic development of the sector of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), popularly known as drones. PANSA’s strategic objectives include creation of an appropriate environment for the further development of the UAV service market in Poland and Europe, which is reflected in the U-space concept that assumes safe and effective integration of drone operations with manned air traffic. The foundation of this objective and the key element to reach it is the system for UAV flights coordination and flight plans management.
PansaUTM system serves as the source of primary information and aeronautical data. The system facilitates the flight coordination process, providing the information on operators, their licences and registered drones if needed to assess the UAV flight requests. PansaUTM system with the dFPL (drone Flight Plan) functionality (i.e. UAV flight plans) provides also for electronic creation of BVLOS (Beyond Visual Line of Sight) and VLOS (Visual Line of Sight) missions in accordance with applicable regulations taking into account terrain and air conditions such as airspace structure occupation, operational limitations, and weather. A mission thus created primarily in controlled zones are analysed by the system in order to issue digitalised permission for specific UAV flights at the pre-tactical stage. The process takes place fully electronically and in real time detecting potential conflicts in the airspace at the strategic level and improving the planning, verification and approval of UAV missions. The most important element of the system is the air traffic control interface and support of the safe air navigation services provision.
PansaUTM includes also the functionalities of real-time e-identification and location of a drone (provided it uses any of the selected tracking methods), dynamic geo-fencing that allows selected UAV operators to order the drone to land, and direct two-way non-verbal communication between air traffic services and UAV operator through the so-called CDDLC (Controller-Drone Data Link Communication), which contributes to deconfliction at the strategic level. The system decreases the workload of air traffic services simultaneously preparing for expected increase in the number of UAV operations in the future. The system is designed to ensure the existing level of safety of other airspace users.
PansaUTM is a unique system which can be operated by an airspace manager responsible for controlled airspace volumes. The modular architecture of PansaUTM allows the system to be deployed either fully or partially, depending on the current or future needs and requirements of its users, and to customise it to meet specific language needs and changing legal requirements (e.g. different national laws or common European regulations and the supporting U1-U4 U-space services). At the same time, PansaUTM is compliant with applicable personal data protection laws (e.g. GDPR) and compatible with the existing air traffic management solutions in service with civilian and military airspace and manned air traffic managers. Within PANSA, PansaUTM is integrated with PANDORA aeronautical Information Display System and CAT system for airspace structure management in real-time. PansaUTM provides also for integration with other U-space service providers, e.g. local DTM (Drone Traffic Management) systems, through open API interfaces.
PansaUTM is a safe, complete, flexible, coherent and open solution. It was presented and appreciated for the first time at the 2019 World ATM Congress in Madrid and the 2019 JARUS Plenary Session in Katowice. At present, it is being operationally implemented at PANSA headquarters, 15 civilian towers, 5 FIS sectors and connected with 17 military towers across Poland.
PansaUTM is a globally unique UAV flights coordination and flight plans management system designed to meet the changing needs of airspace managers and technological requirements of the unmanned aviation market. I believe it makes it possible to safely engage Air Navigation Services Providers (ANSPs) in the digitalisation and automation of the process while its architecture makes it the heart of the organisation and dynamic development of the U-space ecosystem.
(Filip Sosin, Head of the U-space Programme, 15 years of experience at PANSA)