The number of drone sightings by pilots and ATCOs and related airprox reports continues to rise. There have been numerous cases of airspace and aerodrome closures due to drones in the vicinity. Many countries do not yet have standard procedures to deal with drone sightings near aerodromes or violations of controlled airspace. IFATCA has released a guidance document on very-low-level drone operations near controlled airports.

The objective of this discussion and guidance material is to promote and uphold a high standard of knowledge and professional efficiency among Air Traffic Controllers. This document is for: distribution to IFATCA Member Associations and ATCOs; as guidance for IFATCAs’ representatives; and for public dissemination. The guidance material focusses on drones operating very-low-level (e.g. not above 400 ft AGL) near controlled airports, generally within controlled airspace, and either VLOS💬 or BVLOS💬.

The guidance material complements the IFALPA/IFATCA Drone Sighting Guidelines published 29 August 2018. It also aligns with IFATCA’s policy statements on the operational use of unmanned aircraft.

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