BCN Drone Center Datasheet

Segregated Airspace

  • Airspace name: TSA-31 CTC-Moià
  • Area: 25 km² (2.500 ha)
  • Maximum Altitude: 4000 ft. ASL (can be increased for specific tests)
  • Minimum Altitude: Ground
  • LOS Operation: YES
  • BVLOS Operation: YES

Airfield

  • Area: 4 ha
  • Main Runway: Free obstacle grass area: 350m long 50m wide
    Compacted soil runway: 140m long 12m wide
  • Secondary Runway: Free obstacle grass area: 100m long 12m wide
    Compacted soil runway: 50m long 12m wide
  • Helipad: 2 m x 2 m

Operation Area

  • Area: 25 km² (2.500 ha)
  • Terrain Type:
    30% Farmland
    40% Forest
    20% Mountains
    10% Hills
  • LTE Communications Coverage: GSM / 3G / 4G / WiMax
  • Test Center Property Land: Outdoor area of 14 Ha suitable and ready to install and deploy any components and infrastructures required for testing

Resources and Services

  • General Resources:
    24h / 365 days operations
    Meteorological station real-time broadcasting
    On-site Airband Communications
    On-site NOTAM issuance
    GPS EGNOS RTK coverage
    UAV consultant’s office
    TCAS Service
  • Accessible Facilities:
    Offices
    Workshop
    Electronics Lab
    Camera Calibration Lab
    Hangar
    Warehouse
    Two Ground Control Stations:
    • Fixed command center
    • Mobile trailer
    Meeting room
    Training room / Classroom for up to 60 people
    Dining room with catering service
  • Redundant Internet Links:
    4G Internet Link: 20Mb download, 3Mb upload, with possible enhancement up to 50Mb
    Wi-max: symmetric 3Mb
    Guifi: symmetric 3Mb
  • On-site Test Support Specialists:
    UAV Expert Pilot
    Flight Test Aerospace Engineer
    Flight Test Manager
    Flight Communications Officer
  • Outdoor Calibration/Real Testing Facilities:
    50+ subcentimeter Geodetic markers
    Effective Resolution Target standard USAF 1951
    Camera Calibration Targets (VIS/IR/Smoke Augmented)
    Static real ground targets: paved and unpaved roads, bridges, residential areas, industrial areas, dam, river, power lines…
  • Command & Control Link Antennas:
    Control
    • Primary: Directional Patch antenna
    • Secondary: Omni Antenna
    Real-time Video Link for FPV (1.3 Ghz)
    Telemetry Systems
    • Primary 433Mhz
    • Secondary 900Mhz
    WiFi coverage for the airfield area
  • Other Test Support Resources:
    Chase UAV
    Video monitoring
    Catapult launching system

Security

  • Restricted Access:
    Secure / Access controlled to Airport Facilities
    Secure / Access controlled to hangar
    Secure / Access controlled to office
  • Security Equipment:
    Alarm connected with police services
    Security video cameras in main areas

Safety

  • Regulations Compliance Adopted: 
    Unmanned Aircraft & Helicopters <150 kg (class F)
  • Population in Operation Area:
    Average population density of 1 habitant / km²
  • UAV Location in Emergency Event:
    Emergency locator transmitter
    Redundant telemetry system

Description

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.

 

Operation Airspace:

 

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:

 

414845N 0020840E
414940N 0021200E
414610N 0021230E
414600N 0021000E

 

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.

Operation Area

 

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.

Airfield

 

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

Hangar

Ground Control Center

Meeting room

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

Storage space

Bicycle loaning service

Lounge & barbeque

Testing times:

 

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.

Other Services:

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.

Training Program:

 

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.

FAQ

Distance and availability of Accommodation

The recommended option is Motel el Toll, which is in the near town of Collsuspina and can be reached approximately in the following times:

  • By car: 10 minutes away
  • By bicycle: 15-20 minutes away
  • By foot: 25-30 minutes away

The center has at disposal of the testing team up to 3 bicycles than can be freely used to move around.

Up to which weight category is allowed to operate in your site?

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.

Can you give support in achieving flight permits?

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…).

On which basis (in terms of permit to fly) can we operate at your site, is a special assurance needed for operations?

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).

Size of the operating area:

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.

Availability of landing strip for fixed wing operations, if yes then the dimensions of it:

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.

Is it allowed to operate Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS)? If yes, what are the procedures to achieve BVLOS permit?

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).

Availability of calibrated reference points:

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.

Can you provide targets for electro optical measurements?

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.

Operations in urban scenario

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.

Ground Vehicles as mission simulation:

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.