Guidelines for ATCOs (3/3)

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Suggestions to ATCOs and Member Associations of IFATCA

  • Be involved with or even initiate safety risk assessment workshops prior to situations where ATCOs plugged in operationally are asked to decide on having drones within their airspace, vector CPA clear of an area where an illegal operation has been reported, or to reopen the airspace. While international standards and transparent contingency or emergency procedures are lacking, all parties should be aware of every procedure prior to each and every UAS operation in non-segregated airspace.
  • Remember, the regulations may not support drone operations. Ensure the validity of the rules you are given.
  • Report and action all drone sightings. Consider also the guidance in this document when it is necessary to close airspace/airports to preserve safety and also for the process of reopening airspace.
  • Consider/plan your emergency response in reaction to a mid-air collision between a drone and a CPA.
  • Be cautious if essential communication with the RP is via a hand-held VHF transceiver or mobile cell phone.

IFATCA is working to assist and advise in the development of safe and orderly systems of Air Traffic Control; to ensure the professional voice of its members is represented while protecting and safeguarding the interests of the Air Traffic Control profession; and that we promote safety, efficiency and regularity in International Air Navigation.

The benefits realised from drone operations are significant and valuable to humanity. Safely fostering drone activities is a worthwhile method, balanced with the efficient interoperable operation of the ATM system.

Excerpt from the: Drone Sighting GUIDELINES
SPEEDExpect pilots to request a speed reduction [when they are able to].
INFORMExpect pilots to inform ATC immediately and pass as much accurate information as possible about the drone sighting: Location; Altitude; Lateral and vertical separation; Was it moving or stationary? Size, shape, appearance (e.g. quadcopter, camera underneath, colour, etc.).
Inform supervisors, neighbouring sectors and pilots on and joining the frequency.
DELAYManage airspace and consider possible delays/diversions as a result.
AVOIDANCEPilots may request alternative routings or radar vectors if deemed necessary.
Consider the safety of the operation and avoid the area if deemed necessary.
REPORTFile the appropriate safety report as established with your ANSP/aviation authority.
REMEMBERIn the event of imminent threat to the aircraft, nothing prevents pilots from declaring an emergency, taking avoidance action, etc.

©2019 The International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers’ Associations.

This publication is for your information only.

In all cases, ATCOs should follow their company’s guidance and procedures. In the interest of safety, reproduction in whole or in part is encouraged. All reproductions must credit IFATCA. This publication may not be sold or used commercially.

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