NATS updates Drone Assist app
National Air Traffic Services has made a number of changes and improvements to Drone Assist, the drone safety app launched last December, to make it more userfriendly for commercial and recreational drone pilots.
One of the most significant changes is to the ‘Fly Now’ feature. Drone pilots can now plan their flights ahead of time, for any location in the UK, whereas previously this could only be done in the location being flown in at the time of flight. ‘This update better supports commercial drone operators as well as anyone operating with limited connectivity and means that pilots can now plan ahead,’ says NATS. ‘Using “Fly Now” creates flight reports which are visible to other app users and potentially other airspace users, helping to reduce the risk of a drone related incident in UK airspace.’
The new Area Reports feature provides users with a visual red/amber/green indicator providing a quick and easy way to see a real-time summary of hazards in a particular area when viewing the map. These summaries are categorised as High Risk (red), Medium Risk/caution (amber) or Fly Safe: Follow Drone Code (green), when there are no reported risks mapped. Weather information has also been added to the app, allowing drone pilots to view the latest weather conditions, and a forecast for the next hour.
‘Feedback from the users of Drone Assist has been overwhelmingly positive and has helped to inform app developments,’ reports NATS. ‘Most notably and taking into account user comments, registration to use the app now only requires an email address, removing the need for a mobile phone number. An additional 2,000-3,000 users are registering each month, with more and more pilots signing up as the weather improves. Registrations now total well over 20,000. The app is available free on iphone, ipad and Android devices. Visit dronesafe.uk for more details and to read the CAA’S Drone Code before flying.’