EUKA Takes the Lead in Drone Community Organization and Promotion for Europe

The European Community, through the European Aviation Safety Association or EASA has been aggressively advancing the cause of drone regulation in an effort to attract UAV companies to establish in its territory.

One fine example of this push to attract entrepreneurs and their start-ups is EUKA (www.euka.org), the European drone cluster acknowledged and supported in part by the Flemish government in Belgium.

EUKA was founded in 2014 with the sole purpose of promoting the creation and adoption of UAV technology in Belgium and for that purpose they sought the financial support of the Flemish government in terms of a physical location. Today EUKA has over 250 members and is located at the Sint-Truiden airport where they are now building a new facility that would contain hangar and office space for any drone-related company willing to become a member and relocate.

The new facility, known as Droneport, is an ambitious effort to establish the perfect base of operations for any drone-related activity through the use of their state-of-the art testing environment and an ample ecosystem of R&D, education and entrepreneurship. Companies which belong in EUKA are engaged in a serious effort to become pioneers in the commercial drone space and in raising a unified voice of sensibilization and awareness for government and the general public alike.

As an organization, EUKA, through numerous events, learning networks, seminars, co-creative sessions and conventions is trying to facilitate the exchange of knowledge and experience necessary to bringing together regulators, manufacturers and academia engaged in the drone business in order to create a self-contained center of excellence.

EUKA is present at the Commercial UAV Expo in Las Vegas this week through the participation of four of its members:

(UN)MANNED (www.unmanned.aero). Based in the beautiful medieval city of Bruges in Western Belgium, they provide certified avionics’ platforms, including PFDs, navigation, and engine indication displays which automate the DO-178C certification for manned and unmanned aircraft. Their SoL product helps clients create customized avionics, with automated DO-178 certification evidence which brings reduction in project costs and time of up to 80%.

Droneport NV (www.droneport.eu). A private-government collaboration and initiative to build a center of excellence for all things drone-related that would group private companies, R&D, government organizations and user groups in a central location to provide testing facilities, training and innovation.

Skycan (www.skycan.be). An initiative to bring together Flemish drone pilots into an organization aimed at helping each other in terms of understanding the legal framework, restrictions and any other factor that might affect their flights.

UNIFLY NV (www.unifly.aero). A developer of unmanned traffic management (UTM) systems, Unifly is engaged in the promotion of a safe environment for the commercial deployment of UAV solutions and bringing together drone operators and pilots to better communicate with regulators and law enforcement to create a safe flying environment.

About the Author

Juan received a degree in Geodesy and a master in digital photogrammetry from Universidad Central de Venezuela and a MBA in international Finance from Florida International University. He has over 750 hours of experience in photogrammetry navigation and camera operation in aircraft as varied as WWII B-25, Cessna 310, Lear Jet 25C and Piper Aztec. Juan holds a Commercial, Multi-engine Pilot certificate. Juan has been selling mapping UAV’s in Latin America for four years and is a frequent guest speaker in events where the safety of flying UAV’s and the fact that unmanned and manned aircraft inevitably will share the same airspace, is a relevant topic. He is the CEO of Juan B Plaza Consulting, a services’ firm specializing in UAV and general aviation issues.

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