It’s a complex problem: how to ensure that all drone operators have up-to-date information on airspace before they fly. It isn’t just a question of publishing NOTAMS and maps: drone flyers are a diverse group, ranging from professioal pilots to kids exploring the airspace for the first time. The information has to be readily available, easy to use, up-to-date – and free.
So when the FAA partnered with drone software leaders Kittyhawk to update B4UFLY, the FAA’s free app, it was great news. Better and easier to use airspace information means better access for all flyers – and fewer mistakes that damage the public perception of drones. Today, Kittyhawk and the FAA announced the new version is available.
The following is a joint press release from Kittyhawk and the FAA.
SAN FRANCISCO AND WASHINGTON - July 31, 2019 - Kittyhawk the market leader in drone software and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today introduced a new version of B4UFLY, the free mobile app that lets drone operators check the status of airspace prior to flight. Available now for iOS and Android, the app determines what airspace restrictions are in effect at any location in the United States, in real-time.
B4UFLY is a key tool in the safe integration of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) into the National Airspace System (NAS) that empowers recreational, commercial, and government drone operators with the situational awareness to fly safely and responsibly every time. More than 700,000 people have used B4UFLY since its original launch in 2016. B4UFLY is provided through a partnership between the FAA and Kittyhawk at no cost to taxpayers.
The new app leverages Dynamic Airspace, Kittyhawk’s patented airspace controller for managing real-time flight restrictions, authorizations, and guidance. B4UFLY programmatically consumes FAA data sources for controlled airspace, special use airspace, critical infrastructure, airports, national parks, military training routes, and temporary flight restrictions.
Based on location, B4UFLY provides simple, easy to understand airspace guidance that includes Good to Go, Warning and Do Not Fly. The app also provides links to helpful UAS educational content, safety resources, and LAANC, the FAA’s Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability for obtaining authorizations to fly in controlled airspace.
“B4UFLY is a hallmark of our commitment to ensuring drones are safely integrated into the NAS. Our partnership on B4UFLY with Kittyhawk represents the kind of public-private partnership that is essential to advance this burgeoning industry. As the skies become more crowded and UAS operations become more complex, basic airspace situational awareness, especially for the newest of fliers, will be essential,” said Jay Merkle, Executive Director, FAA UAS Integration Office.
“Kittyhawk was the birthplace of manned aviation and we’re proud to continue that legacy of innovation with the new B4UFLY app,” said Jon Hegranes, Kittyhawk CEO and Founder. “While the Wright brothers had a vast and soft landing area, drone pilots face sometimes complex rules and restrictions that can change quickly. Our goal with B4UFLY is to make knowing when and how you should fly simple, quick, and reliable.”
Future development of B4UFLY will include new capabilities for weather, Remote ID and additional data layers for uses in public safety, natural disasters and emergency response.
Kittyhawk unifies the mission, aircraft and data to empower safe and effective drone operations. Based in San Francisco, the company develops full stack enterprise drone solutions for professional pilots and fleet managers in energy, insurance, media, transportation, and public safety. Founded in 2015, the company has received $9.5 million in aggregate funding from Travelers, Bonfire Ventures, Boeing HorizonX Ventures, Freestyle Ventures, and The Flying Object (TFO). Learn more at https://kittyhawk.io.
B4UFLY is the simple, easy-to-understand way for drone operators to check airspace before taking flight. Stay compliant, and contribute to a safer national airspace by making yourself aware of advisories and restrictions in the airspace around you. With B4UFLY, you simply open the app and select where you want to fly to see the status of the airspace selected, as well as details regarding surrounding advisories. B4UFLY is provided through a partnership between the FAA and Kittyhawk IO. Visit https://kittyhawk.io/b4ufly/ to download the app and learn more.
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
For drone industry consulting or writing, Email Miriam.
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