NATS up­dates Drone As­sist app

Pilot - - PILOT NOTES -

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 drone­ for more de­tails and to read the CAA’S Drone Code be­fore fly­ing.’

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