The Indra-led European ARIADNA consortium including ENAIRE, CRIDA and Fada-Catec has completed the first simultaneous flight tests of a drone and a manned airplane in a Spain.

The remotely piloted aircraft system (RPAS) was tested at the ATLAS Experimental Flight Center in Villacarrillo, Spain.

Executed in two phases, the trial featured the Viewer drone and the Indra MRI P2006T manned aircraft, which demonstrated various flying maneuvers.

A controller supervised the operation, providing separate instructions to the two aircraft.

The remote pilot of the unmanned aerial system (UAS) continuously monitored the aircraft from the ground. The pilot had the position data of both the aircrafts transmitted by an ADS-B receptor.

"A controller supervised the operation, providing separate instructions to the two aircraft."

This helped enhance the situational awareness of airspace traffic in the area.

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In the second phase of the test, another drone, the unmanned helicopter Logo, was used to validate the feasibility of instrumental approach as well as landing procedures with vertical guidance dependent on satellite navigation.

The tests successfully demonstrated the drones’ ability to operate seamlessly under the same conditions as other airplanes at a conventional airport.

The project has been co-funded by the Single European Sky Air Traffic Management Research (SESAR) Joint Undertaking, which aims to integrate drones safely into the European air traffic management (ATM) system.

Image: The drone was operated simultaneously with a manned aircraft. Photo: courtesy of Indra.