The Wing free drone pilot app has been available in Australia for a couple of years: OpenSky is available in the U. S. today for the first time. OpenSky is an adaptation of the software that Wing uses in it’s commercial drone delivery programs worldwide. Wing says that the OpenSky system offers an easy to use app that clearly shows pilots of all levels where they can and cannot fly.
“Available for free in the Google Play and Apple’s App Store, the OpenSky app makes it very easy for drone flyers to abide by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airspace rules and regulations and automatically request authorization to fly in controlled airspace, including the airspace near airports and major cities.” says a Wing press release.
The OpenSky app brings a level of simplicity, familiarity and accuracy for drone operators across the U.S. With OpenSky, recreational or commercial drone flyers can check FAA airspace information to see where they can and cannot fly, request permission from the FAA to fly in certain airspaces, and manage, and log their flights and permissions to their pilot profile.
Offering the app for free to both recreational and commercial flyers aligns wtih Wing’s consistent message: Open Skies for All. “We’re releasing this app for free because we think it is paramount that all drone flyers — hobbyists, photographers, or commercial operators — are flying safely,” says Wing’s Lia Reich.
Wing is one of the companies investing time and money in enabling safe drone operation, in the hopes that their efforts will build a foundation for drone delivery and other commercial applications at scale. “…Because OpenSky is powered by Google Maps, it brings simplicity and familiarity to drone pilots at every level of aviation experience. In this way, we hope to build support for the continued growth of the drone industry generally, and drone delivery specifically, here in the U.S., where Wing has plans to expand later this year,” says Reich.
After receiving positive feedback from drone flyers in Australia, as well as from Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), Wing began discussions with the FAA about bringing OpenSky to the U.S. The FAA has approved OpenSky as a Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) supplier, allowing the app to function as a real-time authorization tool for drone flyers wishing to operate in LAANC-controlled airspaces, which include areas surrounding hundreds of airports throughout the U.S. Without an FAA-approved LAANC supplier such as OpenSky, drone fliers would need to request authorization to operate in these areas days or weeks in advance. OpenSky can enable authorizations in seconds for operations like emergency response, commercial surveys, or film and photography sessions.
Why is a drone delivery company investing in an operator app? Because with nearly two million registered drones in the U.S. already, regulatory compliance of all drones will allow them to share the sky safely. Moreover, compliance will ultimately expand the uses and benefits of drones–among them emergency response, commercial inspections and contactless delivery–to more people.
OpenSky is one of many tools that operators can use to participate in the airspace. Wing believes that an open airspace system will encourage a stream of innovations that will support diversity, attract users and grow the entire drone industry – benefiting everyone.
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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