BCN Drone Center is a UAV Test Site devoted to civil UAV testing with an official segregated airspace. It is located just one hour by car from downtown Barcelona and enjoys one of the best climates of southern Europe. Meteorological conditions allow UAV flight testing more than 320 days a year. The facilities offer everything that the UAV design and test process needs making it a perfect location for drone development.
The UAV Test Site has its own segregated airspace (TSA), approved by Spanish Airspace Authorities. The name of the airspace is TSA-31 CTC-MOIA, with an area of 2.500 hectares and a maximum ceiling of 4.000 ft. However, the center has managed special approvals for flights upon the standard ceiling with the Spanish Airspace Authorities, up to 45.000 ft. for research purposes. These are the coordinates of the four corners of the airspace:
This TSA has been specially implemented and designed for UAV testing allowing to:
Perform both LOS and BVLOS UAV flight operation.
Obtain special permissions to fly with UAV prototype and/or test new UAV systems.
Obtain special permissions to extend the maximum legal altitude or flight conditions for testing specific mission set-ups.
Perform certification flights in a legal and safe environment.
The operation airspace is located over a very low populated area. This allows testing UAV prototypes without any risk for population or infrastructures. The area has multiple environments including forest of different species (including perennial and non-perennial), livestock pasture fields, multiple kinds of crops, isolated farms and houses, small rivers and lake, power lines, etc. Furthermore, the full area has been converted into a big remote sensing laboratory, which includes:
140.000 m² outdoor property land surface for installing remote sensing targets or any required experiment (ground vehicles, people, cattle, controlled fires…).
More than 50 geodetic targets measured with subcentimeter precision along a 2 km area.
USAF resolution target to properly assess the performance of the sensors used.
Radiometric calibration targets to properly calibrate multispectral and thermal measurements.
LTE (4G) coverage all along the operation area.
BCN Drone Center occupies an area of 14 ha, 4 of which correspond to the airfield area. The orientation of this field greatly facilitates the operations of drones, which can take off and land with the correct orientation with respect to the prevailing winds. The main characteristics of the field are:
Two grass runways orientated to dominant winds and one helipad.
Located in an elevated flat plateau free of obstacles in all directions.
Free of electro-magnetic interferences.
Good atmospheric conditions all year long.
Easy access from hangar facilities.
Wi-Fi internet connection in the field area.
Test Site Facilities
BCN Drone Center facilities are located inside the airfield, allowing this way to seamless perform testing-developing-testing iterations.
The bioclimatic building that houses the BCN Drone Center is revolutionary in concept and construction. This building has two goals in mind: maximum energy efficiency and minimum landscape impact.
The thermal envelope of the building has been studied in detail in order to ensure comfortable temperatures throughout the year. To achieve this the building has been integrated into field to take advantage of the thermal inertia of the terrain. This also eliminates the obstacle that the building would impose for drone operation.
The electricity is provided with solar panels while the heating is achieved thanks to the combination of a biomass heater and earth warming tubes. Rain water is collected and stored from the rain using a special system of pipes and tanks where it is conditioned for human use. This makes the building completely autonomous.
The building includes the following facilities:
Office with internet connection (both Wi-Fi and high-speed)
Workshop with basic machinery for UAV assembly
Electronics Lab with stock of main UAV electronic components
Camera Calibration Lab
Ground Control Center
Configurable training room with up to 60 people capacity
Dining room with fridge, microwave and coffee machine
On-site accommodation for up to 2 people if required for intensive or night training
Bicycle loaning service
Lounge & barbeque
Normal opening hours of the BCN Drone Center are from 9:00h to 18:00h Monday to Friday (except special holidays). However, if required for testing, extra overtime hours may be purchased separately for 24h/365days of the year, useful for night testing or intensive testing programs.
Legal consultancy: We can assess and help you in getting all the legal documentation required for doing special unusual operations. Furthermore, we can help you in doing all the paperwork required to complete all testing procedures required for starting legal operation outside the BCN Drone Center once the testing is completed.
Tracking service: We can integrate a proven small telemetry module in your UAV so we can redundantly track your system from our ground control centre, so we can locate it or even take control of it in case any unexpected failure.
UAS Communication System: The users can have access to fixed high gain antennas for the common bands used for control, telemetry and video link for UAV systems
Emergency beacon: We can add to your UAV an independent 8g emergency beacon that will allow us to locate it in case of total failure of your system
Meteorological station: The users can have real time access to all weather data such as wind direction, wind velocity, forecast…
TCAS: Companies can use the UAV Traffic Collision Avoidance System (TCAS), which doesn’t require adding anything onboard the system. It will locate other airspace users in the area in case of multiple platform missions testing
UAV consultancy: BCN Drone Center team has more than 15 years developing, testing and operating UAV systems for real applications. We can share our experience with you in order to assess you in any point of your development or in setting up the most suitable testing procedure.
UAV expert pilot: If required, we can provide an expert UAV pilot to control the systems used during the testing.
Catering service: We can provide on-site catering service if required for big events or intensive testing.
The center has different training programs all year long related with UAV operation, UAV design and UAV remote sensing. Also we can provide custom on demand courses.
Accommodation and Others:
In the case of night tests, there is accommodation inside the facilities for a reduced team of experimenters. At 10 minutes by car, near the BCN DRONE CENTER facilities, there are accommodations for the consortium personnel that can be arranged by the center officials. There are accessible cities by road, with Universities and Technological & Research Centers, including Barcelona city center at 1h. Finally, the facilities are normally served by courier services, transport companies and logistics providers.
The recommended option is Motel el Toll, which is in the near town of Collsuspina and can be reached approximately in the following times:
The center has at disposal of the testing team up to 3 bicycles than can be freely used to move around.
The weight category is limited by Spanish legislation that allows operation of systems under 150 kg. However, if the system weights more than 25 kg it requires an airworthiness certificate. Using systems under 25 kg is easier and follows the Spanish specific UAV legislation (BOE law 18/2014) that will allow the testing company to follow his own country legislation if it is similar to Spanish one.
Yes, we can carry most of the paper work required to get all flight permissions. Also, as we are flying in a segregated airspace (TSA-31) specifically designed for drone testing we can easily get special permissions if needed (for example for flying with UAV prototypes, testing R+D systems, increasing the maximum altitude allowed…).
You will have to follow the Spanish legislation limitations if it is more restrictive than the company own country. In Spain is required a third-party insurance as most other EU countries. If the company already owns an EU insurance it probably will cover the system in Spain (or could be extended to have this cover).
The segregated airspace has a total operation area of 25 km2. The BCN Drone Center has also 14 hectares of property land in which can be installed any kind of ground experiment or remote sensing target. Furthermore we have a close relation with all neighborhood land owners so we can get special permissions for bigger experiments.
We have one main landing area of 350 meters long and 50 meters wide with 100 meters of compacted soil runway in the middle and a secondary landing area of 100 meters long and 12 meters wide with 50 meters of compacted soil runway in the middle.
Yes, it is allowed to operate in BVLOS all along the segregated airspace. In order to achieve permit the TSA-31 must be activated (its activation is included in the package price).
Yes, we have more than 50 calibrated targets in different places of the operation area (not restricted in the UAV airfield) that have been acquired with subcentimeter precision with a GPS station. Also, we can set up radiometric calibration targets in different places over the operation area in order to properly calibrate the sensors used. Furthermore, there is a resolution calibration USAF target inside the field to properly assess the sensor performance.
Yes, there are already placed in the field targets of different materials that can be used as electro optical targets. Also we can put any required target or experiment in the airfield or even ask permission to set them anywhere in the 25 km2 operation area.
Nowadays operation over urban scenario is not allowed in Spain. However in the operation area there are several isolated houses and farms that can be used to simulate a urban scenario.
During 2017 it is forecasted that a new legislation will appear allowing systems under 10 kg to fly in this kind of scenarios. Once the new legislation framework is set up we will be able to give you support in getting the permits for flying in such scenario.
Yes, we have various cars and trailers in the center that can be placed in the fields or roads of the operation area in order to simulate special scenarios. Also we can use robotic ground vehicles in order to simulate combined operations.