Drone Test Centre Requirements Enabling Pragmatic & Safe Operations
Netherlands Aerospace Centre (NLR), The Netherlands
Jan-Floris Boer received his degree as an Aerospace Engineer in 1990 at the Delft University of Technology with a thesis on Helicopter Systems. He started working at the Delft University of Technology, faculty of Aerospace Engineering, in the Aircraft Structures Disciplinary Group. In 1991 he changed to the helicopter subject again by joining the Helicopter department of NLR, the Royal Netherlands Aerospace Centre in Amsterdam. He was involved in a large number of projects, among which are: helicopter preliminary design, wind tunnel testing, helicopter icing, research & modelling activities on the helicopter down- and outwash, helicopter qualification, and from 2001 onwards several Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) projects. These include European framework projects, domestic RPAS projects, contributions to the design & development of both fixed wing & rotorcraft RPAS, development of RPAS regulations, and operational aspects, including the training of RPAS Remote Pilots. His current activities include: RPAS technology development & regulations, among which are specifically Detect And Avoid (DAA) system development, development of requirements for technical assessments & certification, and the further development of the Netherlands RPAS Test Centre (NRTC) at the NLR Marknesse facility.
A prerequisite for pragmatic and safe operations is the ability to flight test drones and their envisioned operations before using them for the multitude of applications which provide an attractive technical or economic benefit as compared to alternative options for those applications. Drone test flights can, and should, be performed in a safe manner at specifically for that purposed established and equipped drone test centres. This presentation intent is to provide an overview of the main requirements for, and the possible establishment of, drone test centres. While providing these requirements, examples will be provided from the experiences gained by NLR at its and other test centres in The Netherlands. Finally, an outlook is provided on how such test centres can be operated under the new EU regulations and on which aspects we need European harmonisation.