Drones

FAA beta testing B4UFLY smartphone app to keep drone pilots informed

FAA beta testing B4UFLY smartp...
The FAA is beta testing a smartphone app to inform drone pilots of any restrictions or requirements in effect at a location
The FAA is beta testing a smartphone app to inform drone pilots of any restrictions or requirements in effect at a location
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The B4UFLY app has a planning mode for future times and locations
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The B4UFLY app has a planning mode for future times and locations
The B4UFLY app warns of local UAV requirements
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The B4UFLY app warns of local UAV requirements
The B4UFLY app provides warnings before flying UAVs
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The B4UFLY app provides warnings before flying UAVs
The B4UFLY app shows colored status maps
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The B4UFLY app shows colored status maps
The FAA is beta testing a smartphone app to inform drone pilots of any restrictions or requirements in effect at a location
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The FAA is beta testing a smartphone app to inform drone pilots of any restrictions or requirements in effect at a location
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Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), or drones, have quickly gained popularity with the public. And as is so often the case with rapidly advancing technologies, it can be hard for the public to know legally what they can and can't do with the technology – or in the case of drones, where they can and can't fly. To help dispel confusion surrounding drone flights, the US FAA is beta testing its B4UFLY smartphone app, which tells users about any restrictions on unmanned aircraft they might want to fly in a particular area.

B4UFLY was released on August 28 to about 1,000 beta users from the public, government, and industry for a 60-day trial. With drones recently caught interfering with rescue services at fires and security alerts prompted by a rash of UAV sightings by pilots at airports, the FAA says the aim of the app is to encourage voluntarycompliance with aviation regulations by packaging real-time, publicly availableinformation in a user-friendly format.

Based on standing laws and regulations as well as Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFR), the app provides red, orange, and, yellow status warnings regarding specific locations, the parameters of the warning, a Planner Mode for future flights and locations, and links to FAA information resources.

The B4UFLY app provides warnings before flying UAVs
The B4UFLY app provides warnings before flying UAVs

"The FAA is responsible for ensuring the safety of the flying public and people and property on the ground," says the authority. "We believe a key way to help people fly unmanned aircraft safely is to provide situational awareness to let them know where it’s not a good idea to fly because there might be a conflict in the airspace they’re flying in. That’s exactly what B4UFLY is designed to do."

The app is currently for iOS only and not yet available in the App Store, but the FAA says that a later app for general release will include both iOS and Android versions.

Source: FAA

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2 comments
AliciaRussell
I'm sure that the airport operator, and the air traffic control tower are standing by just to take your calls. Yeah, right. Since they are capable of knowing where you are on the planet, why don't they give you the phone numbers to those two entities in the area? I'm guessing you will be on hold forever, or if they did ever answer, they wouldn't know what you are talking about, or if they did, they would ask questions that most 15 year old boys with toys couldn't answer, followed by a COA request form filled out in triplicate. How about letting you text them? How are you supposed to tell them your flight plan when you are just a boy with a toy? You would be lucky just to know which direction your craft facing? Good luck kid, start here.... https://www.faa.gov/uas/faq/
Anne Ominous
In addition to what Alicia wrote, the fact is that the FAA's authority is based ONLY on the Interstate Commerce Clause of the Constitution. Further, its initial mandate, the Air Commerce Act of 1926, gives it authority (naturally enough) only over "navigable airways", which are commonly used places and routes used for interstate travel, including airports.
A Federal judge recently stayed the EPA's attempt to usurp authority over all water in the United States, when the EPA's authority is similarly restricted to the Interstate Commerce Clause, and "navigable waterways", which are interstate water routes analogous to the navigable airways.
What's good for the goose is good for the gander, as they say. The same simple logic applies to both agencies. The EPA does not "own" or control all water in the U.S. (in fact the water belongs to the various States). Nor does FAA have control over all the air, or the air for all purposes.