5 Tips for Airspace Research

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Before flying your drone, you should always conduct airspace research. You'll want to look at the Sectional Chart, interpret the regulations, and think through your intended flight operations and how to best mitigate risk.

All of this can be intimidating for a lot of folks, but in this article we put together with Altitude Angel we simplify the process by running through the basics of conducting airspace research as a drone pilot.

sUAS Airspace Research: 5 Tips to Help With Your Drone Flight Mission Planning


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Hi Isabella,

I signed up for the DroneSafetyMap.  It's almost impossible to use.  I have several hospital helipads near where I live.  The 5 mile radius (which is currently irrelevant anyway) for each of them overlap.  So, each one has a blue layer that starts out as translucent and becomes almost completely opaque  for the map underlying those layers.   There are no settings that one can do, even when logged in.  Since it was written for the UK, all the defaults start in the UK at London airport.  

Offhand, this is probably much worse than B4UFLY from our own FAA.  I haven't used it for logging any flights, so I don't know how that works yet.  I don't see any way to find NOTAMS or TFRs from that app, either.


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Hi Stan,

Thanks for your comment. We’re constantly looking to develop our application to make it as user-friendly and informative for drone operators as possible, so we really value your feedback.

At it’s core, DroneSafetyMap is focused on providing a full and accurate picture of the airspace for drone operators. We appreciate there are issues with visibility in areas with multiple navigation and airspace warnings and this can make it difficult to view the underlaying map, but its role is to ensure that pilots have as much information as possible to ensure they stay safe during their flight. For instance, whilst not a legal requirement, we believe the 5-mile radius around heliports is relevant to drone operators because it highlights the potential hazard of low-flying manned aircraft.

As a commercial pilot, we would recommend you select ‘Part 107’ from the drop-down in the location search bar once you’re familiar with hazards in the airspace around you. This provides Part 107 Certified pilots with a tailored view of their airspace. If you wish, you can also customise which layers are visible by clicking the ‘filter’ icon in the location search bar. It’s important to note that Layer Switches will only appear if they are present in the airspace you are viewing at the time and are then added as you navigate around the map. When active, you will find that NOTAMS fall under the category ‘Navigation Warning’ whilst TFRs sit under ‘Airspace’.

We’re also currently looking to introduce automatic geo-location on DroneSafetyMap, to ensure the most relevant view is provided as soon as the map is opened – which should rectify the issue you are experiencing with the default starting location.

If you have any more feedback or questions, please do let me know! We’d also be more than happy for you to contact us directly through our website or via email at hello@altitudeangel.com.

Kind regards,

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