Pop-up unmanned traffic management successfully demonstrated by Altitude Angel, Inmarsat and A-techSYN


Test flights using drones flying Beyond Visual Line Of Sight (BVLOS) confirm ground-breaking capabilities of unmanned traffic management platform 

Altitude Angel, the world’s leading Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) technology provider, Inmarsat, the world leader in global mobile satellite communications, and A-techSYN, a foremost manufacturer of next generation Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), today announced the successful conclusion of drone test flights using their jointly developed Pop-Up UTM platform.

The Pop-Up UTM platform delivers advanced Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) flight tracking for UAVs. It enables drones to be safely integrated into controlled airspace and ensures they are visible to – and can be kept distant from – other air traffic.

During October and November 2020, an A-TechSYN CGT50 VTOL UAV – using the compact Cobham AVIATOR 200 satcom solution integrated with UAV Navigation’s POLAR Attitude & Heading Reference System (AHRS) - flew numerous BVLOS flights, connected and tracked using Inmarsat’s global L-band satellite network. The fully autonomous flights were initiated and monitored by a pilot 60km from the take-off and landing area near Ankara, Turkey, and were tracked, monitored and managed using the Pop-Up UTM platform by a team at Altitude Angel’s HQ in Reading, United Kingdom.

The test flights produced excellent results, with the UTM platform offering full situational awareness to the operator team. During the tests, the system detected a possible conflict with a commercial aircraft. As designed, the Pop-Up UTM correctly triggered a warning to de-conflict the two aircraft, allowing appropriate avoidance action to be taken.

Phil Binks, Altitude Angel’s Head of Air Traffic Management, said: “Our partnership with Inmarsat in the development of Pop-Up UTM has, in a little under six months, engineered a platform which has the power to save lives and revolutionise the way operators deploy UAV services. As an example, emergency services and first responders would be able to use drones alongside manned aircraft in the most challenging of scenarios. The trial flights not only established how Pop-Up UTM could be quickly deployed, but the unexpected arrival of a GA aircraft and its triggering of the de-confliction software demonstrated how the platform will perform in a real-world environment.”

All flights were conducted under full satcom command and control, with FPV (Forward Position Video) feed, utilising Inmarsat’s SB-S platform. Successful handovers occurred between satcom and radio frequency control, demonstrating that Inmarsat can deliver advanced BVLOS operations for UAVs.

Anthony Spouncer, Inmarsat Aviation’s Senior Director of UAVs & UTM, added: “With our global satellite network, and more than 30 years of experience in communications, navigation and surveillance services, Inmarsat is uniquely placed to be the catalyst for growth of the commercial UAV market and bring powerful benefits to business and society as a result. With flight tests now complete, we are excited to offer new UTM services in 2021 and beyond that will help businesses unlock the limitless possibilities of commercial drone operations.”

The drone test flights provided a real-world demonstration of how Pop-Up UTM can be used to allow manned and unmanned aircraft to operate in close proximity, safely and securely. With BVLOS operations now a reality, a single pilot can operate a UAV remotely and beyond the horizon, boosting the commercial viability of unmanned aerial operations.

Gokhan Celik, A-techSYN’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “With this demonstration, we have successfully overcome a significant challenge facing the aviation industry – safely integrating UAVs into civil airspace. UAVs weighing more than 50kg, such as A-TechSYN’s CGT50 VTOL, are fast becoming the gold standard in unmanned operations, including search and rescue, pipeline/powerline inspections, and long distance medical delivery. Drones can now evolve from passive broadcasting to active communication with the UTM in real time, mirroring manned aviation processes. We are very happy with the results of the Pop-Up UTM and have decided to make Inmarsat satcom connectivity and UTM integration standard on all our CGT50 VTOL units.”

During October and November 2020, an A-TechSYN CGT50 VTOL UAV – using the compact Cobham AVIATOR 200 satcom solution integrated with UAV Navigation’s POLAR Attitude & Heading Reference System (AHRS) - flew numerous BVLOS flights, connected and tracked using Inmarsat’s global L-band satellite network.

Further Information

About Altitude Angel

Altitude Angel is an aviation technology company delivering solutions which enable the safer integration and use of fully automated drones into airspace. Through its Airspace Management platform, GuardianUTM O/S, they deliver the essential software platform which enable national deployments of U-space compatible services, safely unlocking the potential of drones and helping national aviation authorities and air navigation service providers to establish new services to support the growth in the drone industry.

The foundation components of GuardianUTM O/S are also available to enable third-party UTM developers to incorporate enterprise-grade data and services into their UTM solutions.

Altitude Angel was founded by Richard Parker in 2014 and is headquartered in Reading, UK.

Altitude Angel’s developer platform is open and available to all at:

About GuardianUTM

GuardianUTM enables drone manufacturers and software developers to connect into a rich, dynamic source of accurate, authoritative and relevant information to support geofencing, while offering enhanced UTM capabilities such as a single interface to multi-country flight authorisation.

The system is being deployed by NATS, the UK’s main air navigation service provider, and was demonstrated as part of ‘Operation Zenith’ in 2018, offering enhanced airport safeguarding and automated approvals to fly in controlled airspace. Altitude Angel is now bringing online functionality to enable drone pilots anywhere in the world to get 1-click access to controlled airspace.

Its companion product, GuardianUTM O/S, supports all the functionality required to deliver national-grade drone traffic management capabilities to any country that wishes to safely unlock the potential of drones.

Introduction video:

Media Contacts

Stephen Farmer
Altitude Angel
Head of Corporate Communications & PR 

Tel: +44 (0)118 321 4100 
[email protected] 

About Inmarsat

Inmarsat is the world leader in global, mobile satellite communications. It owns and operates the world’s most diverse global portfolio of mobile telecommunications satellite networks, and holds a multi-layered, global spectrum portfolio, covering L-band, Ka-band and S-band, enabling unparalleled breadth and diversity in the solutions it provides. Inmarsat’s long-established global distribution network includes not only the world’s leading channel partners but also its own strong direct retail capabilities, enabling end to end customer service assurance.

The company has an unrivalled track record of operating the world’s most reliable global mobile satellite telecommunications networks, sustaining business and mission critical safety & operational applications for more than 40 years. It is also a major driving force behind technological innovation in mobile satellite communications, sustaining its leadership through a substantial investment and a powerful network of technology and manufacturing partners.

Inmarsat operates across a diversified portfolio of sectors with the financial resources to fund its business strategy and holds leading positions in the Maritime, Government, Aviation and Enterprise satcoms markets, operating consistently as a trusted, responsive and high-quality partner to its customers across the globe.

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Media Contacts

Jonathan Sinnatt
Director of Corporate Communications
Tel: +44 20 7728 1935
[email protected]

Robeel Haq
Head of Communications, Aviation
Tel: +44 7714 399905
[email protected]

About A-techSYN

A-techSYN is vertically integrated and does not only develop and manufacture UAS, Autopilot and key electronic components, but also trains operators and mechanics, provides MRO and even flight services to customers. Internally developed IP, Easy and quick integration of new equipment to the platforms, integration of systems with existing infrastructure, customization of the UAS products to customer requirements and low cost of ownership are some of the key differentiators of A-techSYN as an independent and highly flexible Company.

As of 2020, A-techSYN is in the process of global expansion, forming a global marketing, resale, training and MRO network with offices in EU Countries but also in the UK, Australia, Africa, Canada, USA, and South America. Products are already being used by defence, law enforcement, intelligence and civil customers on a daily basis.