World ATM Congress Ends Its Eighth Edition Testing The Sky Of The Future: Drones and Civil Military Planes Fly Together For The First Time

Event World ATM Congress 2021
Organiser CANSO & ATCA
Event Date 26.10.2021
Press Release Date 01.11.2021

On Thursday, 28 October, Madrid’s Cuatro Vientos Aerodrome was home to the sky of the future: a single space where unmanned vehicles fly with traditional aviation. For the first time in the world, an active airport airspace accommodated both civil and military aircraft and drones at the same time. It was an historic ending to the eighth edition of the World ATM Congress, which concluded with demonstrations of cargo transport flights, artificial intelligence applications, computer vision, indoor flight, and races. Demo Day and World ATM Congress came to a close with a spectacular light and sound show with a swarm of 100 synchronised drones.

The Expodrónica Pavilion, which premiered this year at World ATM Congress, organised the most complex operation ever been carried out in an airport: more than 10 unmanned flight operations in a coordinated air space with civil and military traffic.

“These drone flight demos in regulated airspace along with civil and military aviation are a great example of the union between the UTM and ATM sectors. It is not only possible but already a reality,” said Isabel Buatas, director of Expodrónica. “World ATM Congress and Expodrónica have built the sky of the future from the ground up. It has been the first experience full of hope. Joining forces is the key to the future. Traditional aviation and the new unmanned vehicle industry, together, have advanced in just three days more than we could have done in three years going each on their own. Thanks to ATCA and CANSO, co-organisers of World ATM Congress, for their boldness in making both sectors get the future sooner.”

UMILES, the largest remotely piloted aircraft services consortium in Spain, and sponsor of the Expodrónica Pavilion, carried out three of the most spectacular tests in the afternoon: the simultaneous flight of two Saturn drones designed for surveillance, inspection, security applications. and emergency. Besides, we could see a FPV race between two drones that fly in acrobatic flight way, with speeds of up to 150 km/h.

But the most spectacular moment of the Drone Demo Day arrived at night. One hundred drones performed a synchronised show of lights and music and attendees, and indeed the whole area around the airport, was treated to a save the date announcement for the next edition of the World ATM Congress, 21-23 June 2022.

To kick off the flight demonstrations in the morning, a drone from the Italian startup ABZero was the first to take off at Cuatro Vientos Airport. The delivery aircraft carries medical supplies and was loaded with a Smart Capsule, which maintains necessary conditions for safe delivery of blood for patients needing transfusions.

Portuguese company Connect Robotics carried out a parcel delivery demo with a drone, thanks to artificial intelligence software.

The French company Elistair showed a UAV of its own manufacture. The ORION 2 is a captive drone with a flight range of more than 24 hours thanks to the ground station. It is used for surveillance tasks and can detect a car at 20km and a person at 10km.

Estonia’s Krattworks, specialising in firefighting, flew a demonstration and captured images, while the Spanish firm STAREA carried out an autonomous flight test of a VTOL (vertical take-off and landing and horizontal flight).

Throughout the demo day, the Local Police of Madrid set up a tethered drone fed through a copper wire, which broadcasted the afternoon activities on a large screen. The broadcast also featured footage from a flight of the Elios 2 drone. This UAV remotely inspected the interior of an airplane.

All the flights carried out were coordinated with the civil and military authorities to guarantee the safety of the first combined operation between drones and traditional aviation, as well as the normal development of scheduled flights.


Organisers of the World ATM Congress:
CANSO, the Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation
ATCA, the Air Traffic Control Association