On the future of VTOL and complementary use of drones

EHA statement on the European Commission Drone Strategy. The growth of the UAV activity must be addressed urgently in order to preserve the safety of manned aircraft as indispensable and, therefore, indisputable top precondition regarding the promotion of the drone industry.

Chiefly, para-public helicopter operations, particularly HEMS, Search and Rescue, firefighting, are very often related to emergencies to address at low/very low altitude, in such conditions that do neither allow them to identify potential incoming and potentially colliding drones nor engage safe avoidance manoeuvres, the safety and the priority of these flight operations must be possible to maintain in a reasonable way, irrespectively of the U-Space principles.

Therefore, we, the European Helicopter Association (EHA), call forcefully to amend the regulations by implementing the following principles:

  • Outside of U space, the absence of drones must be legally guaranteed. 
  • To provide the population with various sustainable services, chiefly para-public and other emergency and security services executed by helicopters, in a safe manner for the people, potential passengers and the crews, helicopters need to be able to fly safely through the U-space. Thus, these helicopters operating at low altitude must be protected from any potential conflicting drones respectively UAM/RAM vehicles. That could be achieved by real time traffic information of drones in the helicopter cockpit as well as by electronic protection measures against the collision with drones or UAM/RAM. Else, U-space areas would have to be considered non-flyable zones due to an inherent collision risk.