Quadcopter equipped with ADS-B (photo by EJS Aerial)

As part of the joint Airspace4All/NATS Drone Infringement Safeguarding Project, City Airport (Manchester Barton) was the venue for an evening flight programme on Sunday 18th August 2019 where drones and GA aircraft, all equipped with electronic conspicuity flew a carefully planned exercise of circuits and circuit joins in the Barton ATZ to evaluate the efficacy of ADS-B for drones in the real world GA environment.

The drones were configured to broadcast and receive ADS-B, making themselves electronically conspicuous to the GA aircraft while also receiving ADS-B traffic information on the three GA aircraft that were flown. The GA aircraft were also equipped with ADS-B In & Out so were capable of receiving traffic information on each other and the drones.

All the while Barton Information was providing an Aerodrome Flight Information Service aided by their ADS-B Traffic Display provided under the Airspace4All GA Airfield ATS ADS-B Traffic Display Trial.

In-cockpit display of ADS-B traffic information, including drone – callsign PING02.

The flight programme is researching the use of ADS-B for drones in the GA environment, gathering information on the reliability and range of drone ADS-B broadcasts and visual acquisition by GA pilots. The flight programme was undertaken by Barton ATS staff (who are also GA pilots) plus EJS Aerial and University of Manchester (drones) supported by Barton ATS, Airspace4All and NATS R&D. ADS-B equipment for the drones has been kindly loaned by uAvionix.

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