Altitude Angel and Inmarsat's ground-breaking Pop-Up UTM wins 2020 ATM Award


Prestigious accolade for advanced platform, which delivers Beyond Visual Line of Sight flight tracking for UAVs worldwide, enabling safe integration into controlled airspace

Altitude Angel, the world’s leading Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) technology provider, and Inmarsat, the world leader in global mobile satellite communications, today announced that their jointly developed Pop-Up UTM platform has been named a winner at the prestigious Air Traffic Management (ATM) Magazine Awards 2020.

The judging panel, comprised of experts from different constituencies in the ATM and UTM industries, voted for Altitude Angel and Inmarsat’s ground-breaking Pop-Up UTM platform as winner in the new ‘UTM Service Suppliers’ category, which recognises pioneering technologies and procedures developed by UTM service suppliers to advance safety and complex operations.

The advanced platform delivers Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) flight tracking for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), commonly known as drones, enabling them to be safely integrated into controlled airspace and ensuring they are visible to – and can be kept distant from – other air traffic.

Phil Binks, Altitude Angel’s Head of UTM, said: “We are honoured to be receive this award, which comes soon after we delivered a game-changing live demonstration of the Pop-Up UTM concept with our partner Inmarsat. It proved that the technology can be used anywhere on the planet, with just a moment’s notice, allowing organisations such as blue light services and first responders to safely and securely co-ordinate manned and unmanned aircraft in high-pressure or hostile environments.

“What made the demonstration even more impressive was the fact it took place in a fully operational airspace, side-by-side with regular air traffic movements. Following Altitude Angel’s success over the past 12 months, this award honours all the hard work and effort the team put in over the year, as well as the immense potential for unmanned traffic management in the future.”

Anthony Spouncer, Inmarsat Aviation Senior Director of UAVs & UTM, added: “Inmarsat is proud to receive this accolade and provide the essential connectivity for this innovative Pop-Up UTM platform via our unrivalled global satellite network. With more than 30 years of experience in providing communications, navigation and surveillance to the aviation industry worldwide, we are uniquely positioned to serve as the catalyst for the UAV industry’s rapid growth as it moves into BVLOS operations. Winning the ATM Magazine award with Altitude Angel reinforces the view that the industry is ready to take the next steps towards a combined airspace, which will allow civil and unmanned aircraft to co-exist safely.”

The live demonstration of Altitude Angel and Inmarsat’s Pop-Up UTM concept took place in October and November 2020. A fully supported 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 demonstration flights produced excellent results, with the platform offering full situational awareness to the operator team and preventing any potential conflicts with commercial aircraft, in this instance operating in different airspace classifications, allowing for appropriate avoidance action.

Altitude Angel and Inmarsat will discuss the demonstration flights in more detail during a webinar titled ‘Out of Sight: Deploying Pop-Up UTM’ on 16 February. Further details and registration for the virtual event are available here.

Note to editors: Video footage from Altitude Angel and Inmarsat’s Pop-Up UTM flight demonstration is available to download here:

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:  

Altitude Angel

Stephen Farmer
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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Jonathan Sinnatt
Director of Corporate Communications
+44 20 7728 1935
[email protected]

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