Message from the European Ballooning Federation (EBF) regarding U space and I conspicuity

What is this all about? U space is reserved airspace for manned and unmanned airspace for aerial vehicles like drones and Urban Air Mobility Vehicles.

There are a lot of new developments and initiatives that will promote and develop aerial vehicles used for tasks that are now carried out by helicopters or other vehicles. As an example, air taxi and low-level activity with drones. These activities need airspace which will made available to them by the National Aviation Authorities. This airspace is reserved for this activity and called U-Space.

We as EBF are advocating that we need to be able to fly our balloons and have no or hardly any negative effect from the use of U space airspace. EASA have introduced new legal wording in SERA 6005(c) which reads as follows and is applicable as of January  2023 ( see: Easy Access Rules for Standardised European Rules of the Air (SERA) | EASA )

(c) U-space airspace

Manned aircraft operating in airspace designated by the competent authority as a U-space airspace, and not provided with an air traffic control service by the ANSP, shall continuously make themselves electronically conspicuous to the U-space service providers.

ANSP is Air Navigation Service Provider. This means that we have to make ourselves Electronically visible/detectable as of January 2023.

In order to make clear how this can be done we have attached several presentations which you can have a look at: Pre-Recordings for Webinar on iConspicuity – YouTube

We (EBF) have commented on the Notice of Proposed Amendment (NPA-2021-14) and have made clear that we would support a strict separation of drones and other airspace users as long as they are not limiting the use of airspace for balloons. We feel that drones should not hinder our balloon activities. 

EASA has proposed several solutions varying from ADS B( Automatic Dependant Surveillance Broadcast) which can be expensive, ADSB LIGHT with several yet unproven technology including not installed equipment such as telephone technology in 4 and 5 G. 

We have experimented with SAFESKY which is an APP on your telephone device making you visible for drones and other aircraft. We are looking at the maximum height/altitude on which this APP is reliable. 

Since U space is in many countries limited to 500ft ( with exceptions) this would mean that the App needs to make us electronically visible/detectable up to 500ft. We have seen that this is under most circumstances the case.

This message is to inform you that this is a topic for EBF and that we are involved in finding suitable solutions for the balloon operators and pilots. More news when this is available!

More information: kaa@ballooning-federation.eu

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