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Thursday, May 7, 2015

FAA Smartphone Application to Help UAS Operators Identify Legal Flight Areas

The FAA has demonstrated a new smartphone application called “B4UFLY,” designed to help model aircraft and unmanned aircraft (UAS) users know if it is safe and legal to fly in their current or planned location.

“We want to make sure hobbyists and modelers know where it is and isn’t okay to fly,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. “While there are other apps that provide model aircraft enthusiast with various types of data, we believe B4UFLY has the most user-friendly interface and the most up-to-date information.”

B4UFLY is a simple, easy-to-use app that users can access before they operate their aircraft to determine whether there are any restrictions or requirements in effect at the location where they want to fly. The FAA announced the app at the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) Unmanned Systems 2015 conference in Atlanta, Ga., and plans to release the app to approximately 1,000 beta testers later this summer.

Key features of the B4UFLY app include:

  • A clear “status” indicator that immediately informs operators about their current or planned location.
  • Information on the parameters that drive the status indicator.
  • A “Planner Mode” for future flights in different locations.
  • Informative, interactive maps with filtering options.
  • Contact information for nearby airports.
  • Links to other FAA UAS resources and regulatory information.
  • Screenshots of the app are available at http://www.faa.gov/uas/b4ufly/.

The beta test is expected to run for several months, after which the FAA plans to make B4UFLY available for the general public. The initial release is planned for iOS devices only, with an Android version to follow.

B4UFLY complements the Know Before You Fly educational campaign, which provides prospective UAS operators with information and guidance they need to fly safely and responsibly. The FAA is a partner in the effort with the AUVSI, Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA), and the Small UAV Coalition.

For more information on the FAA and UAS, go to http://www.faa.gov/uas.

Related: FAA News, UAS News

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