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Germany Breaks Ground on a Unique Hub for Testing Unmanned Aircraft in Real Conditions

Nobody can deny the important part that drones will play in the future of aviation, but an essential part of that has to do with the seamless integration of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) with conventional aircraft in day-to-day traffic. The German Aerospace Center (DLR) will benefit from a unique test infrastructure in Europe.
The reopened airport in Cochstedt will serve as a real laboratory for UAS 6 photos
DLR Reopens the Magdeburg-Cochstedt AirportDLR Reopens the Magdeburg-Cochstedt AirportNational Experimental Test Center for Unmanned Aircraft SystemsDLR Reopens the Magdeburg-Cochstedt AirportDLR Reopens the Magdeburg-Cochstedt Airport
Last year, DLR inaugurated the National Experimental Test Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems in Cochstedt, the Saxony-Anhalt region, where the final tests of its City-ATM project showed real drones flying alongside 100 virtual ones in large-scale traffic scenarios.

This year, the new Center will be linked to the Magdeburg-Cochstedt Airport, which was officially reopened on May 6, for access to infrastructure that will allow tests for the integration between drones and conventional aircraft.

The airport is introduced as a “real laboratory for unmanned aerial systems” that will enable startups and major aviation companies to test their UAS in realistic conditions in an adequately controlled environment. An important part of that will be the successful integration of drones into regular air traffic.

For now, only aircraft of up to 5.7 tonnes (6.2 tons) are cleared to take-off and land at the Magdeburg-Cochstedt Airport, and only six employees are handling current operations. But in the following years, the weight restriction will increase to 14 tonnes (15.4 tons), so the number of employees and additional systems will also grow.

During the initial phase, the airport will operate on a smaller scale, but the research infrastructure continues to be developed. Since UAS certification requires extensive research and testing, this new location is set to become an important hub for drone development.

The DLR initiative will break new ground in crewed and uncrewed aviation through the unique interactions between flight operations and research at the Magdeburg-Cochstedt site,” said Lydia Huskens, Minister for Infrastructure and Digital Affairs of Saxony-Anhalt.

press release

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