Eurocontrol predict 100 drone flights a day by 2040

Eurocontrol predict 100 drone flights a day by 2040

Of course, there is an element of clickbait in that title, a quote then pulled from Eurocontrols Challenges of Growth report.

There will be many more unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) or ‘drones’ by 2040. Most of these will operate outside current controlled airspace, but this will put pressure to cede parts of current controlled airspace.

Within controlled airspace, 2017 saw about 6 flights/day. By 2040, the main effect will be to replace existing operations with ‘optionally piloted’ ones. On top of this transformation, we see a growth of about 100 flights/day.

They are talking about RPA flights in IFR airspace and we know there are only a handful of mostly military platforms in there at the minute. That is changing though, many military vendors have long held a desire to start orbits over Europe to sell data to civilian users. At one talk I went to archaeologists were even mentioned as a group to sell data. Not only Time Team, but farmers, police forces, the coast guard and many more.

The standout sentence that will cause much grinding of teeth in the manned community is in this paragraph.

It is clear that there will be a lot more UAS in future, but largely outside current IFR airspace. A significant issue will be the pressure this puts on
aviation to cede airspace to new uses. There will be pressure to raise the 150m ceiling for low-level UAS operations, and there will be some airspace need for very high-level, long-endurance UAS during ascent or descent.

Yep until camera’s start taking high res photos faster a little bit higher would be a plan, say to 1000 feet for RPA and then a 1000′ buffer to keep GA out the way. So no #NoGABelow2k

I thought it was also of interest that Eurocontrol put delivery services above current U space in their little diagram, yes with a question mark, but above current operations none the less. This would put your Amazon delivery into lots more weather than at low level.


Gary Mortimer

Founder and Editor of sUAS News | Gary Mortimer has been a commercial balloon pilot for 25 years and also flies full-size helicopters. Prior to that, he made tea and coffee in air traffic control towers across the UK as a member of the Royal Air Force.