UAS flight authorisation service

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The UAS flight authorisation service is primarily a strategic deconfliction tool. It checks that each submitted flight request is not conflicting with existing UAS flight authorisations, based on their 4D-volume data. It also rejects requests that are not correctly formed, that conflict with dynamic airspace restrictions or with operations having a higher priority (special operations[1]). The service does not cover authorisations required from competent authorities prior to entering an airspace, such as airport protected areas, nor does it cover operational authorizations, like SORA. It only informs the operators of overlaps with any airspace restrictions provided by the geo-awareness service (Art 9). Finally, it is required from operators to announce their intent to start their operations by activating their flight authorisation. The activation of a flight initiates the use of other services, like traffic information, network and remote identification or conformance monitoring, when required.

Overview

Flight Authorisation Flow.png

Scenarios

  • Nominal scenario
An UAS operator submits a flight authorisation request, which is valid and free of conflicts. The request is automatically accepted by their USSP, which assigned it a unique identification number. When ready to start their mission, the operator sends an activation request to their USSP. At the time of activation, the flight authorization service serves as a way to ensure that the operator has access to all the latest relevant airspace data. If no prohibited conflicts are present, the operator starts their flight. Once the flight is over, the UAS flight authorisation gets archived.
  • Airspace restriction changes
Whether before or in-flight, the UAS operator gets informed of new airspace restrictions and it is up to them to take the appropriate action, when required. If needed and possible, they can update their flight authorisation or submit a new one. Otherwise, they end their flight. 
  • Dynamic airspace reconfiguration and priority flights
Pre-activation, a flight activation gets withdrawn if it conflicts with a dynamic airspace reconfiguration or with a higher priority flight. Post-activation, the UAS operator can update their flight authorisation or submit a new one to avoid the conflict. Otherwise, they end their flight. 
  • Invalid request
In case a request is invalidly formed, it gets immediately rejected and does not receive a unique flight authorisation identifier. The request is nonetheless archived and can be used to improve the system.

Priorities

The Flight Authorisation service only considers two levels or priorities[2]: UAS conducting special operations[3] and all other operations. It processes requests of equal priority on a first-come, first-served basis[4]. This approach inherently favors operators who are able to plan their operations in advance versus those operating on-demand. Operators might then be incentivized to submit their requests early, in order to make sure that they will be able to fly. It is expected for early requests to come with increased uncertainty linked with operational conditions (in particular weather). This could lead to longer or larger flight authorization requests, resulting in less efficient use of the airspace.

In order to identify any issues related to the first-come, first-served principle, USSPs will be required to log and share with FOCA details on flight authorization requests. Those will be analyzed and used to suggest improvement to the service.

Scope of Flight

The UAS flight authorisation service is expected to be able to handle flight authorisation requests by UAS operators for single flights and a repetitive number of flights that are conducted consecutively on the same route.

Abuse

Some operators might abuse the system by filing requests they do not actually intend to fly or filing exaggeratedly large or long requests. [more to come]

Standard

The standard used for data exchange among U-space service providers is the strategic deconfliction portion of ASTM F3548-21. It defines mechanism to discover relevant service providers in an area and exchange data with them.


  1. Defined in Article 4 of the Implementing Regulation (EU) No 923/2012
  2. Art. 10.8
  3. as referred to in Article 4 of Implementing Regulation (EU) No 923/2012.
  4. Art. 10.9