News   •

07 April 2022
Above the sea
The corridor that will be designated for this purpose between these four places is largely above the sea. For good reasons," says Frank van der Meer, project manager of the 'Unmanned Aviation Program' at the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management. “Above sea, valuable experience can be gained with BVLOS flights. Yet, if something goes wrong, we would rather have a drone end up in the water than on land.” Actually, only Woensdrecht in Brabant on the border with Zeeland is located a bit further inland. “…There are still a lot of challenges,” says Van der Meer, who attended the NL Drone Day organized by the ministry yesterday in the RAI. "But I think we'll have the trajectory on paper before the summer and then testing can start at the end of the year."

Air traffic control
In the world of drones, flying BVLOS is the holy grail. But it is not yet allowed under Dutch law. Although exemptions from are possible, these must be arranged each flight. One of the problems is that the air traffic control system is designed on the basis of classic manned aviation. That will likely change sooner than later. Jaco Stremler, Director of Aviation at the Ministry:..It is a huge job to regulate the use of drones – it concerns, among other things, extensive safety measures and developing an air traffic control system for unmanned aviation.” Last week, the cabinet sent the Unmanned Aviation Action Program 2022-2023 to the House of Representatives, which was drawn up in consultation with the drone sector. It states that the use of drones is increasing strongly, but also that more and more applications are being added in the field of transport technology and information and communication technology (ICT). The ministry's ambition is to enable smart and high-quality technological applications of unmanned aviation, because they can help with economic growth, employment, sustainability and improvement of the living environment.

“When I started in this position 6.5 years ago, there were two people working with drones at the ministry somewhere in a corner. Now the subject is in the center of attention,” says Stremler. Drones are no longer just toys. There are all kinds of applications that offer many advantages. An example? Rijkswaterstaat uses drones to inspect bridges. In this way the road does not have to be closed for the inspection work. And indeed think of the medical drone of the ANWB that can deliver blood or medicines quickly in the future, for example to the islands.”