An ASTRAEA veteran, Andrew brings more than 30 years’ experience in air traffic control operations to the Programme where he’s coordinator of the Regulatory aspects that affect UAS integration into UK airspace.
This involves him in several current projects including Virtual Certification, EuroCAE WG-73, the ICAO UASSG Detect and Avoid Sub Group, as well as Air Traffic Management and Airworthiness & Certification.
“Virtual Certification was developed during ASTRAEA 1,” Andrew explained, “and it has three aims – to reduce the commercial risk, establish the optimum UAS development route to certification and provide a forum for discussions with the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) on certification standards.”
Basically, Virtual Certification (VC) is a high-level graphical plan that tracks UAS certification requirements and inter-relates them with input from ASTRAEA partners and the CAA. It provides a unique opportunity for industry to collaborate with regulators as the certification framework is assembled so that all parties move together in the same direction.
Both the European Organisation for Civil Aviation Equipment (EuroCAE) Working Group-73 and UK CAP 722 address the standards required for civilian UAS to operate in non-segregated airspace – the former in Europe and the latter in the UK. They, in turn, work with the RTCA in the US who are developing Minimum Aviation System Performance Standards (MASPS) for UAS operations in the US National Airspace System.
“Establishing these standards should be a coordinated effort,” Andrew said, “ so regulations for UAS operations are basically the same from one country to another, much as they are for manned commercial flight today.”
Certainly, the ASTRAEA Programme is a leader in the effort to establish standards for UAS and, with continuing International cooperation, the pieces of the operational puzzle are slowly coming together.
“ASTRAEA is not only beneficial to the UK Aviation Industry,” Andrew said, “it is also playing a pivotal role in the International effort to develop a commercial capability for UAS worldwide”
About Thales and Thales UK
Thales is a global technology leader for both the defence & security and the aerospace & transport markets. In 2009 the company generated revenues of £11.5 billion (€12.9 billion), with 68,000 employees in 50 countries. With its 22,500 engineers and researchers, Thales has a unique capability to design, develop and deploy equipment, systems and services that meet the most complex security requirements. Thales has an exceptional international footprint with operations around the world, working with customers as local partners.
Thales UK employs 8,500 staff based at 40 locations. In 2009, Thales UK's revenues were around £1.5 billion.