Drones and UAS big issue for airspace safety says Dubai Civil Aviation head

Drones and UAS big issue for airspace safety says Dubai Civil Aviation head

Dubai Civil Aviation Authority’s head of Airspace Safety says he now spends 80% of his time dealing with UAS-related issues.

Michael Rudolph, head of Airspace Safety at Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, was speaking during this week’s UAS Summit held as part of the  Dubai Airshow. He said that threats to air traffic and security were the main reasons why Dubai moved fast to regulate the industry.

“After drones caused an issue with commercial air traffic in Dubai, we had to come to a satisfactory conclusion in developing a mechanism to manage the problem, fast,” he said.

Dubai and the UAE has led the way to ensure good regulation and registration of the UAS – Unmanned Aircraft Systems – market.

Opening a new two-day conference, air marshall Philip Sturley, CB MBE RAF Retd, told delegates that Dubai was the perfect venue for such an event given its rapid reaction to ensuring all those who use UAS are educated in the correct and safe use of the devices.

“What Dubai did to ensure all UAS users were registered and regulated is a very interesting move for other countries to follow. The industry has seen surprisingly rapid growth and a great deal of support and development. These systems are used widely already – we are seeing them used in surveying, filming, search and rescue and fire-fighting activity. Such rapid growth needs swift regulatory action and Dubai moved quickly to ensure UAS users were safe, as well as its airspace,” he said.

While highlighting the opportunities offered by the sector in his speech, Air Marshal Sturley also mentioned some of the threats – such as disrupting flight paths, or ‘swarming’ – the phenomena where small UAS owners could group together and cause the closure of an airport or other facility by filling the surrounding airspace.

The conference is taking an in-depth look at the future development of, and innovation in, UAS commercial operations. Border and airspace security is another issue raised during the event which began.

Michele van Akelijen, managing director of organisers, Tarsus F&E LLC Middle East, said: “As part of our drive to innovate and keep abreast of trends within the sector at Dubai Airshow, it is important to consider the rapidly developing UAS market both regionally and globally – and that’s why we have launched a dedicated conference to the subject. We hope the two days of panels and presentations will enlighten delegates as to the issues, challenges and opportunities of the UAS market.”

Supported by the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and Shephard, the UAS Summit ends on 15 November and is sponsored by CAE and 3D Systems. It includes a line-up of significant industry speakers, from companies including Lockheed Martin, Nokia, UPS, ENAV, GoAerials, Falcon Eye Drones, CAE, Sanad, and the UN world Food Programme.

The Dubai Airshow ends on Thursday, November 16, and as well as the UAS Summit this year includes many new features, including a Space Pavilion and Conference, Cargo Zone and Airport Solutions.