DFS provides opportunity for manned and unmanned aviation to meet

15.11.2016.- DFS welcomed more than 400 guests at the DFS Technology Conference on Tuesday 15 November in Langen near Frankfurt. The topic of the conference was unmanned aircraft systems, more commonly known as drones.

As the guardian of safety in German airspace, DFS will play a major role in the future use of unmanned aircraft systems. At the international technology conference held on 15 November, the CEO of DFS, Klaus-Dieter Scheurle stressed that DFS is working for the fair and safe integration of drones into the existing airspace structure. "DFS sees itself as a facilitator in this new market, bringing together manned and unmanned aviation, regulatory considerations and management of drone traffic," said Prof Scheurle in his opening speech. "At the same time, we have to ensure that this new technology does not compromise the safety of manned aviation."

Experts from Germany and abroad were invited to the conference. One of Germany's best known science journalists, Mr Ranga Yogeshwar not only hosted the event but also held one of the key note speeches. Ms Teri Bristol, Chief Operating Officer of the US Federal Aviation Administration reported about their legal efforts to register drone pilots in the USA. Dr Ole Nordhoff from DHL spoke about his company's use of drones for parcel delivery. Brendan Schulmann, from the leading drone manufacturer DJI, talked about the interplay and conflicting priorities between safety and innovation. Jeff Poole from the Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO) described how airspace can be opened up to unmanned aircraft systems. Brigadier General Dr Jan Kuebart from the German Air Force explained how the military has deployed unmanned aviation systems. A panel discussion was held by the key note speakers.
In the afternoon, the guests had the opportunity to attend four different panel sessions on the regulation of drones, technological aspects, drone traffic management and operational solutions.

DFS estimates that there are about 400,000 private and commercial UAS in operation in Germany today. This number is expected to triple by the end of the decade. The number of incidents involving drones and manned aircraft is already on the rise. From January until October 2016, DFS recorded 61 such incidents. That is five times as many as in the previous year. "DFS expressly welcomes the progress drones represent," said Scheurle. "But we need technological solutions and fitting rules and regulations so that progress does not come at the expense of safety. Safety remains the top priority for DFS".

This is why DFS is supporting efforts to introduce a remote pilot licence that would apply to all drone users. All drone pilots flying devices of 250 grams or more would have to demonstrate knowledge in the subject of flying drones. Until now, only commercial users have to do this for UAS weighing 5 kilograms or more. The proposals made by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) differentiate between what drones are used for and the risks that accompany this type of use. DFS is also a proponent of making remote pilot licences temporary.

Another significant target for DFS is for all drones weighing more than 250 grams to be registered in a central directory in Germany – just as manned civil aircraft and their owners are in the aeronautical register of the German Federal Aviation Office. So far, the new version of the Regulation on the Certification and Licensing in Aviation (LuftVZO), which is currently being worked on by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI), only plans for a requirement for drones to be labelled with the owner's identification. DFS presented its prototype of a registration data bank to the technology conference participants. "We at DFS need to know who is doing what and where," said Prof Scheurle. "If we want to safely integrate unmanned aircraft systems into the air transport system, it is imperative that drones be registered".


DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH
, the German air navigation service provider, is a State-owned company under private law with 5,650 employees as at 31 December 2015. DFS ensures the safe and punctual flow of air traffic over Germany. Around 2,000 air traffic controllers guide up to 10,000 flights in German airspace every day, and about three million movements every year. This makes Germany the country with the highest traffic volume in Europe. The company operates control centres in Langen, Bremen, Karlsruhe and Munich as well as 16 control towers at international airports in Germany. In addition, DFS is represented at the EUROCONTROL Control Centre in Maastricht, the Netherlands. Additional areas of activity include consulting, provided by the Aeronautical Solutions division, and aeronautical data, grouped in the Aeronautical Information Management division.