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Altitude Angel successfully demonstrates the most comprehensive drone trial globally

Written by: Christiana Okolie

According to the UK’s national air traffic service, NATS, 50% of air proximity events (i.e. an aircraft getting far too close to another for comfort) are the result of drone activity. That calls for immediate action in a world where drones must integrate safely and securely with manned aviation to realise this market’s potential.

In the most comprehensive demonstration of its kind anywhere in the world, our portfolio company Altitude Angel has successfully proven that drones can be flown safely alongside manned aircraft in controlled airspace, in multiple scenarios. Altitude Angel’s GuardianUTM O/S provided the backbone and interface to air traffic controllers to co-ordinate the airspace, side-by-side with regular traffic movements.

Interoperability is key for the future success of air traffic management (ATM) and unmanned traffic management (UTM) integration, and Altitude Angel is pioneering this concept. GuardianUTM O/S provided a real-time moving map of Manchester airport and the surrounding area giving NATS air traffic controllers a detailed view of all approved and unapproved – via drone surveillance sensors – aerial activity. The solution also allowed advance warnings to be sent to nearby automated drones or to the pilots in charge of them, allowing them to safely operate in close proximity or take action accordingly.

According to NATS, they wanted a UTM partner that shared the same passion for aviation safety as they do. That requires an accurate, reliable, secure, sustainable and scalable platform that only Altitude Angel can provide for national air traffic control providers.

This was a huge effort co-ordinating participation from 20+ delivery partners, including the likes of Frequentis, a world leading air traffic control technology provider, and DJI, the world’s largest drone manufacturer, Manchester Airport and the National Police Air Service. Altitude Angel will be powering NATS’ expansion plans as it rolls-out the Airspace User Portal (AUP), powered by GuardianUTM, in the coming months.

As a general aviation pilot myself, I feel safer in the skies knowing there is a platform available that can secure the future of our skies, today.

Congratulations to the Altitude Angel team from all of us at Seraphim Capital.


Operation Zenith has been an outstanding success in bringing together the manned and unmanned aviation industry to shine a light on our vision for the future of aviation.