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“eConspicuity”: to fly or no longer to fly…

Updated: Oct 26, 2023

On the 30th of September, EMF organised their General Assembly in Madrid, presided by Louis Collardeau (vice-president of FFPLUM). At this meeting a new Board has been appointed. We are happy to announce that one of them is Paul WINDEY – co-founder of SafeSky and former president (2011-2023) of the Belgian Ultralight Federation.

On this occasion, Paul introduced the need for all pilots to become ‘eConspicuous’, in line with the policy of Europe Air Sports (EAS), as we all face the new reality of drones and U-Space : “which will influence the way of flying of all our categories of airspace users” according to Andres ANESINI of EAS.


At this occasion he presented the eConspicuity concept to the colleagues of EMF, inviting them to collaborate all together, to make sure that all general aviation pilots become ‘visible’, by whatever means.

This is a major safety advise but responds also to the new challenges of drones invading our airspace. We all look forward – manned and unmanned aircraft pilots - to share the sky safely. And this can be done with existing technologies, without major investments of our pilots.”


How to create harmony in the sky between manned and unmanned aircraft?

The vast investments made in R&D and projects by the EU, as well as at the national level, and the rapid developments in the drone industry might jeopardise the freedom of general aviation pilots. It is an illusion to believe that even if all air sports federations join forces, they will be able to prevent the increasing risk of establishing airspaces exclusively for drones. In these designated areas, general aviation pilots might find themselves excluded from flying.


A better strategy is to embrace the European concept of U-Space, where manned aircraft can continue to fly, together with drones. The new EU drone regulations – in force since 26.1.2023 - and the new SERA rules 6005 are clear: manned aviation can continue to fly in U-Space, as far as they are “visible” (‘eConspicuous’) for each other. As such, there would be no need to install further ‘separated airspaces’ for drones where manned aircraft is banned.


New technologies are available to make all airspace users – manned and unmanned – visible to each other in an electronic way. So, let’s all make sure we are ‘visible’.


Some categories of General Aviation have been obliged to install (expensive) Mode-S transponders to be visible to air control. Unfortunately, these transponders do not transmit the actual GPS position to other devices. Only ANSP (national air control authorities) get these positions through primary and secondary radar systems. But here’s the thing: ANSP do not want to exchange their data. Some are visible to private ground stations.


Very few GA use ADS-B devices. The Glider community decided long time ago to use Flarm. Hangliders, paragliders, paramotors or UL use Skytraxx devices, OGN trackers or apps like XC Track, theFlightVario, eVario and the like.


But until now, all of these are not communicating to each other: they do not see each other. And many pilots still do not transmit their position in flight. That is where the new SafeSky approach comes into play by bridging all these players, devices and software as to one ‘eConspicuity community’.


Interoperability is the future!

 

About EMF

The EMF brings together the microlight federations of 23 European countries. It is dedicated to promoting and safeguarding microlighting across Europe. As an independent, nonprofit umbrella association, EMF collaborates with regulatory authorities and organisations like FAI and EAS. Its mission includes harmonising regulations, encouraging safety initiatives, and enhancing communication among member states. EMF actively promotes young pilots, advocates for conspicuousness development, and sees microlights as a cornerstone for sustainable innovation in aviation.


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