CAA agrees to Oban-Lochgilphead drone TDA

The CAA has approved the first of two applications for Temporary Danger Areas (TDAs) for drone operations on the west coast of Scotland near Oban.

A TDA complex will operate from Oban to Lochgilphead, with a spur north-west to Craignure on the Isle of Mull. The application was made by Skyports, a drone operator.

The temporary change will be implemented from Monday 8 February to Wednesday 31 March 2021 (inclusive).

The CAA has imposed restrictions:

1.  Weather Restrictions

  • The CAA has approved the ACP with weather restrictions due to the inclement weather in the area in terms of activation of the required areas of the TDA complex:
  • The Temporary Danger Area Complex is unavailable for activation if the Cloud Base is below 1500ft AMSL and the Visibility is less than 1500 metres.
  • The visibility restriction is aligned with the visibility minima for VFR flight of manned aircraft.
  • The small unmanned aircraft (SUA) is also subject to weather limitations and will not be operated if the conditions exceed these limitations.
  • Skyports will use Met Office Aviation Briefing Services and other applications for tactical decisions to determine the cloud base before commencing and throughout operations.
Skyports drone
This is the sort of drone Skyports is planning to operate. Image: Skyports

2. Operating Authority, Danger Area Activity Information Service (DAAIS)

  • A DAAIS will be provided throughout implementation of the temporary change and the TDAs may only be activated whilst the DAAIS provision is available.
  • The Operating Authority will be Scottish Information. A FISO will be available between 08:00 to 20:00 local time on either 127.275 or 119.875Mhz.
  • Oban Information will also be available during its ATC opening hours on 118.055Mhz.
  • Requests to enter an active TDA can be made to either Scottish Information or Oban Information, who will relay those requests to Skyports via telephone, who in turn will relay its response back via the means of communication it originally received the request. Skyports says that wherever possible, and safe to do so, it will agree to entry requests.
  • Skyports Flight Operations can also be contacted directly via telephone with any requests during the period of implementation: Primary: +447931707963 (Skyports Flight Operations Manager); Secondary: +447561571051 (Skyports Flight Operations Lead).
  • The SUA is fitted with ADS-B IN and OUT, which can process uncertified ADS-B signals, namely SIL/SIL=0.
  • All this information will also be available via NOTAM.
Skyports drone operator
Adding a payload to the Skyports drone

3.   Activation:

  • The CAA requires activation requests to be provided with a least 24 hours notice but, where we can, we will with as much notice as possible.
  • Skyports will only activate the parts of the TDA complex needed to facilitate routes to be flown over any given period. Whenever one or more TDAs in the complex is not required, they will not be activated.
  • In addition, TDAs will not be activated for the whole duration of the period of implementation. We will only activate TDA(s) when required, for the minimum duration necessary, and will deactivate TDAs outsider of notified hours, including as soon as possible whenever a TDA is determined to be no longer required for any reason.

Skyports’ Head of Regulation, Simon Whalley, said, “We will be collating, monitoring and reporting regularly to the CAA on stakeholder feedback received during the period of the TDA, which can be provided to me ( and my colleague Ricky Bhargava ( via email.”

There is a separate application for a TDA from Skyports, ACP-2020-099, covering Oban-Mull-Coll, which is at an earlier stage of the change process.


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