Drone TDA proposed between Portsmouth and Isle of Wight

Another day, another drone company, another Temporary Danger Area (TDA)… this time, it’s between Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight and yes, the NHS needing urgent supplies is the reason again.

A Leicester-based drone company called Skylift UAV, part of the self-styled British Drone Consortium, has submitted an application for a TDA to operate a four-week trial drone service supplying drugs for chemotherapy treatment.

The TDA is an odd dog-leg shape – the reason why is not explained in the application but it could be to avoid Solent Airport. It operates from the surface up to a maximum of 850ft.

Skylift drone for flying NHS supplies. Photo: Skylift

The trial is ‘on behalf’ of Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust and Isle of Wight NHS Trust to transport chemotherapy drugs between Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth and St Mary’s Hospital in Newport, Isle of Wight.

Skylift claims that COVID-19 is directly disrupting the ability of Isle of Wight NHS Trust to procure chemotherapy for its cancer patients.

“As the Trust does not have a Pharmacy Manufacturing Unit of its own, it is wholly dependent on Portsmouth Trust for the supply of chemotherapy,” according to the TDA application.

“Chemotherapy drugs have a short shelf-life (8-24 hours) and since there is a (pre-COVID-19) 3 to 4-hour travel time between the hospitals (2 taxis and a ferry), the chemotherapy must be manufactured before the patient is confirmed as able to attend or receive the treatment.

“COVID-19 has had a negative impact on this issue as it is causing disruption to the ferry companies through suspensions, delays and changing timetables. This is making it difficult for St Mary’s Hospital to organise chemotherapy deliveries and sessions. If a patient is unable to receive the chemotherapy, it is wasted.

“Reducing the delivery time to a 32-minute direct flight between the two hospitals would be transformative, as the chemotherapy could be manufactured once patients are confirmed as able to receive treatment, before being delivered on-demand.

“Beyond visual line of sight unmanned aircraft operations will be required and, in accordance with CAP 1915, such operations must be conducted within segregated airspace.”

Whatever you do, don’t wave… a different Skylift drone, the air ambulance. Photo: Skylift

Skylift says the drone will be equipped with ADS-B and a Mode S Transponder for electronic conspicuity. It will also be GeoFenced so the aircraft remains within the confines of the TDA.

It’s expected

This post was originally published by Flyer Magazine on . Please visit the original post to read the complete article.

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