Simplify Flight Authorization and Compliance with LAANC

LAANC Authorization

As more drones take flight, the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) has become an increasingly important tool to automate drone flight authorization in U.S. controlled airspace under 400 feet. Under Part 107, drone pilots planning to fly in controlled airspace near U.S. airports must get FAA permission via LAANC, giving drone pilots near-real-time authorization to access controlled airspace at or below 400 feet while providing air traffic controllers visibility into when and where drones are operating.
 

What does it mean to be an FAA-approved provider of LAANC? 

The FAA shares airspace data with UAS Service Suppliers like SkyGrid through the UAS Data Exchange to help drone operators stay compliant with regulations. This data includes airport facility maps, airspace classifications, temporary flight restrictions (TFRs), and notices to airmen (NOTAMs). With LAANC, the FAA allows commercial (Part 107 Auto-Approval and Part 107 Further Coordination) and recreational (Section 44809) pilots to gain near real-time access to U.S. controlled airspace via SkyGrid, an FAA-approved UAS Service Supplier, in just seconds. 

At SkyGrid, we’re fueling our system with these data sources to help drone operators minimize risks and generate the optimal route every time. Our goal is to safely integrate all unmanned aircraft in the global airspace, which requires the most up-to-date information from trusted sources. 

Check out a quick overview of our LAANC services and read on for more details: 

 

Features and Benefits 

Our free SkyGrid Flight Control app simplifies the flight approval process by integrating LAANC directly into the flight planning workflow. That means drone operators can seamlessly plan their mission, ensure their flight meets all LAANC criteria, and get auto-approval to fly. Now let’s take a look at what our LAANC services enable drone operators to do: 

  • Receive real-time LAANC authorizations for Part 107 commercial and recreational drone operations under 400 feet in U.S. controlled airspace. 
  • Request further coordination to fly above the designated altitude ceiling in a UAS Facility Map, up to 400 feet. These requests can be submitted up to 90 days in advance, and the approval is coordinated manually through the FAA. 
  • Access UAS Facility Maps that show pre-approved ceilings in controlled airspace and specify if further coordination is available. See the example of the airspace ceilings below: 

Access LAANC with SkyGrid

  • View Special Use Airspace data, airports and airspace classes, Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFRs), and Notices to Airmen (NOTAMs). 
  • Check for both part-time and full-time National Security UAS Flight Restrictions (NSUFRs). See the example of UAS flight restrictions shown in red below: 

Simplify Flight Authorization and Compliance with LAANC

Note: If you are planning an operation in controlled airspace that requires a waiver and an airspace authorization you must apply for both through the FAA’s Drone Zone. 

Why use SkyGrid’s LAANC services?  

As a trusted UAS provider of the FAA’s LAANC service, we help drone operators maintain safe and compliant flights by ensuring they’re aware of the class airspace, boundaries, and advisories in their area, such as TFRs and NOTAMs. 

We make it easy for drone operators to access controlled airspace under 400 feet near airports with near real-time flight authorization. Part 107 pilots can also submit a further coordination request to fly above the designated altitude ceiling in a UAS Facility Map, up to 400 feet. 

SkyGrid Flight Control integrates LAANC directly into the flight scheduling workflow. Moreover, it automatically generates area exploration, waypoint, and multi-objective missions based on custom flight parameters, such as desired speed, altitude, and location. As you can see below, LAANC is not required for the mission plan on the left, and LAANC is required for the mission plan on the right and auto-approval is available.

Simplify Flight Authorization and Compliance with LAANC

Rather than planning a mission after LAANC authorization, this approach provides more assurance that all requirements are checked before you take flight. We recognized the challenge many drone operators are facing today by using several different tools to check airspace, get LAANC, plan flights, and safely execute them, so we set out to solve this challenge by providing one solution operators can use to manage their entire drone workflow.

 

Download SkyGrid Flight Control for free in the Apple App Store or learn more about our advanced enterprise features. 

All-in-One Drone App for Pilots and Enterprises

SkyGrid Fllight Control All-in-One Drone App for Pilots and Enterprises

In case you missed it, we launched our all-in-one drone app, SkyGrid Flight Control, on the Apple App Store for iPhone and iPad users across the world. After the positive response to our iPad application in the US, we had to make our app available to a global audience of drone users.  

SkyGrid Flight Control All-in-One Drone App

The skies are opening up for the drone industry, and SkyGrid Flight Control™ is leading the flock. As the only drone application powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain technologies, SkyGrid Flight Control enables drone operators to manage their entire drone workflow with an all-in-one application, facilitating safe, secure, and efficient drone operations. 

We set out to solve the challenges many drone operators face today by automating every phase of flight in one solution, eliminating the manual workflows, and allowing drone operators to safely explore our shared airspace. 

Our easy-to-use airspace map includes advanced weather, location, and regulatory insights to make more informed decisions before you fly. Our drone flight planner minimizes manual workflows with automated mission plans and autonomous flight execution. As an FAA-approved UAS Service Supplier of Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) 4.0., SkyGrid also provides authorization to fly in controlled airspace in near-real-time.  

SkyGrid Flight Control All-in-One Drone App for Pilots and Enterprises

So why use SkyGrid for your drone operations? Bottom line, we do the heavy lifting. Our app makes it easy to explore the airspace and automate airspace authorization, mission planning, and flight execution to simplify your drone operations. 

Learn more about the app experience in our latest video: 

Stay tuned as we’ll have more insights to share from our product experts in the coming weeks! 

In the meantime, you can get started today by downloading SkyGrid Flight Control for free in the Apple App Store. You can also check out our advanced enterprise features, such as geofencing, custom object detection, and multi-drone missions, for more complex drone operations. 

Top Drone Mistakes (Part 4): Operating in No-Fly Zones

Top Drone Mistakes (Part 4): Operating in No-Fly Zones

Where can I fly my drone? This should be the first question you ask before taking flight. However, many drone pilots still make the mistake of operating in no-fly zones, also known as no drone zones. These areas include the airspace around airports, stadiums, emergency situations, and more. 

Pilots who operate drones in no-fly zones are not only giving the industry a bad rap, they’re also putting lives at risk. To avoid these scenarios, we kicked off a new series on the top drone mistakes in 2021 and beyond. In Part 3, we covered the top mistakes around the flying in adverse conditions. This time we’ll focus on the top mistakes when it comes to operating in no-fly zones. 

 

Mistake 1: Flying in U.S. controlled airspace without flight authorization

Always should check the airspace classes and altitude ceilings in your area before taking flight. If flying in U.S. controlled airspace (Class A, B, C, D or E), flight authorization is required. Controlled airspace is typically found around airports and at certain altitudes where air traffic controllers are actively directing/separating manned aircraft. See how the FAA defines the airspace classes below:

drone no fly zones

Drone operators are prohibited from flying in controlled airspace without authorization. Although it sounds complex, drone pilots can easily identify controlled airspace and get authorization to fly using our free SkyGrid Flight Control app. As an FAA-approved LAANC supplier, SkyGrid provides real-time flight authorization in U.S. controlled airspace within the pre-approved altitude ceilings. This service is available to both Part 107-licensed and recreational drone pilots.

 

Mistake 2: Flying higher than 400 feet above ground level

When flying in uncontrolled airspace (Class G), drone pilots should never fly higher than 400 feet above ground level. This FAA rule helps minimize any potential collisions between manned and unmanned aircraft. Keep in mind the 400-foot limit is measured above the surface, so drones can still fly 400 feet above a cliff or building, as long as they’re in uncontrolled airspace.

When flying in controlled airspace (Class A, B, C, D or E), the altitude ceilings are absolute values above ground level. These altitude limits should NOT be added to the height of any structures. Pilots can find the altitude ceilings in controlled airspace within the SkyGrid Flight Control app.

 

Mistake 3: Flying within national UAS restricted zones

No matter if you’re flying in controlled airspace or not, it’s always important to check for National Security UAS Flight Restrictions (NSUFRs) in your area. These no-fly zones are often issued around military bases and high-security facilities and events. Operators who violate these flight restrictions may be subject to civil penalties and criminal charges. Pilots can find the areas labeled as NSUFRs in the SkyGrid Flight Control app.

 

Mistake 4: Flying near emergency situations, such as fires and vehicle collisions

Hopefully you already know this is big no no! Flying your drone near an emergency situation can prevent first responders from doing their jobs effectively and put lives at risk. For example, if a drone flies near a wildfire, fire response teams are often forced to ground their aircraft to avoid the potential of a midair collision. A drone flying near a traffic incident can also hamper police or medical aircraft operations. Ultimately, interference by a drone can cost lives.

 

Mistake 5: Flying near sporting events or stadiums

Unless authorized, drone pilots are also prohibited from flying in and around stadiums during events, starting one hour before and ending one hour after the scheduled event time. These events include concerts, sporting events, and races in stadiums and venues that seat 30,000 people or more. The no-fly zone covers a radius of 3 nautical miles of the stadium and up to 3,000 feet above ground level.

And that’s a wrap! We hope this series will help clarify some of the misconceptions around the drone rules and best practices. 

Download SkyGrid Flight Control for free in the iPad App Store or learn more about our advanced enterprise features.

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Top Drone Mistakes (Part 3): Flying in Adverse Conditions

Drone Flying in a Storm

As drone operators it is essential to recognize how important it is to have access to detailed, up-to-date airspace intelligence before taking flight in case anything unforeseen happens. In Part 2, we covered the top mistakes when it comes to not following drone best practices. This time we’ll focus on the top misconceptions around flying in adverse conditions. 

No matter if you’re a new drone hobbyist or an experienced commercial pilot, this list is a good reminder of what NOT to do when operating drones. 

 

Mistake 1: Flying in cold weather without pre-heating your battery 

In general, flying in cold weather will drain your battery faster, so keep a close eye on it! Making sure your battery is warm enough before flight will help. It’s recommended to pre-heat your battery to 68°F (20°C) or more. If you don’t have a battery heater, hover in place before taking off to make sure your battery warms up. The SkyGrid Flight Control app will show your battery’s temperature so you can check it before and during flight.  

 

Mistake 2: Flying in freezing temperatures  

Some manufacturers recommend avoiding temperatures below 14°F (-10°C), while others caution against any temperature below freezing (32°F or 0°C). Extreme cold weather can cause an unexpected power drop, or even cause batteries to fail completely. Cold weather can also dull a drone’s sensors, which may lead to a slower response from the control input. 

 

Mistake 3: Flying in temperatures above 104°F 

In many cases, drone manufacturers also recommend avoiding high temperatures above 104°F (40°C). Prolonged exposure to high heat will likely reduce the life of your battery. You also risk melting the internal wires and plastic. Also keep in mind that hot weather is often accompanied by humidity, which can damage your drone’s motor, camera, or gimbal. Always check the temperature and humidity before flying and ensure you wipe down your drone before and after flights.  

Pilots can check the local temperature, humidity, wind speed, precipitation, and more in SkyGrid Flight Control. The app shows microweather data within a 500-meter radius that’s updated every 60 seconds, which makes it easy to avoid unexpected weather conditions.  

 

Mistake 4: Flying in winds speeds above 24 mph 

Among the most popular drones, few are equipped to fly above 24 mph winds. For example, the Mavic 2 Pro can be flown in max wind speeds of 24 mph, but the Mavic Mini can only withstand up to 18 mph winds. Always check the max wind speed of your drone, but it’s likely safe to assume wind speeds of 25 mph and above are too dangerous to fly in and can lead to a collision. 

 

Mistake 5: Flying without a pre-flight checklist 

Ultimately, drone pilots should establish a routine before taking flight that includes checking your drone and gathering situational awareness. Pre-flight checklists commonly include recharging the battery and controller, recalibrating the compass, assessing the propellers, and confirming GPS connectivity. It should also include checking local conditions in the air and on the group. Our latest guide on improving your pre-flight checklist can help.  

 

Mistake 6: (Bonus!) Flying without remote ID technology  

Don’t be alarmed… remote ID technology isn’t required in the United States yet, but it will be by Summer 2023. At this time, drone manufacturers will be required to produce drones that broadcast their location, and drone pilots will be required to fly a compatible drone. You can get more details in our latest remote ID guide  

Stay tuned for Part 4 where we’ll focus on the top drone mistakes when flying near restricted areas. In the meantime, check out our new drone app to that includes advanced weather data, such as precipitation, temperature, wind speed and direction, cloud cover, visibility, and more. 

 

Download SkyGrid Flight Control for free in the iPad App Store or learn more about our advanced enterprise features. 

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5 Steps to Improve Your Drone Pre-Flight Checklist

drone pre-flight checklist

Checking your drone before flight is a standard practice. Many drone operators have an established routine that often includes recharging the battery and controller, updating the firmware, recalibrating the compass, assessing the propellers, and confirming GPS connectivity.

But situation awareness is also critical for safe flight. In low altitude airspace, conditions can shift rapidly and unpredictably, so it’s important to minimize risks by evaluating local conditions in the air and on the ground.

We recommend adding the following steps to your drone pre-flight checklist to up-level your situational awareness and make safer flight decisions.
 

1. Understand microweather conditions

As many operators can attest, weather conditions such as wind, temperature, and precipitation can have a major impact on drone hardware and overall success of the flight. The challenge is traditional weather sources often take 20 minutes to update and provide high-level data over a wide 2,000- to 4,000-meter radius.

Microweather data on the other hand is far more localized with updates every 60 seconds and details within a 500-meter radius, including precipitation, temperature, wind, cloud cover, visibility, and more.

Our free SkyGrid Flight Control app provides this hyper-local weather data to help drone operators ensure they’re flying in optimal conditions based on the current temperature, cloud base, dew point, etc. This level of detail can also help avoid situations where rain or wind speeds unexpectedly increase during flight and damage the aircraft.

Drone weather

2. Evaluate roadway traffic

Unless flying in a remote location, it’s also important to add roadway traffic to your drone pre-flight checklist. This data can help operators avoid flying over congested areas that may pose a risk to vehicles and people on the ground.

Within SkyGrid Flight Control, the traffic layer can be turned on to see light vs. moderate vs. heavy traffic. High roadway traffic can be also be an indication of high pedestrian traffic. Operators can use this data to schedule their flights when the least amount of traffic is expected.

roadway traffic for drones

3. Assess the elevation

Checking the local elevation can also be beneficial for your drone pre-flight checklist. By identifying how elevation fluctuates in your area, operators can safely fly over varying terrain and maintain the desired altitude above ground level.

For example, you may need to fly under 100-feet altitude for missions that require high resolution imagery, such as a site inspection or search and rescue operation. Detailed elevation data can help you maintain this altitude as the ground level shifts throughout the flight.

The elevation layer in SkyGrid Flight Control shows the highest elevation points above ground level, which makes it easy to set optimal altitudes during the flight planning process.

drone elevation data

4. Check for local fires

Unfortunately, wildfires in the western region of the United States are becoming more frequent. This poses a couple different risks for drone operators. For starters, the heat and lack of visibility can lead to aircraft damage. But more importantly, your drone could interrupt the efforts of firefighters.

If a drone flies near a wildfire, fire response teams are often forced to ground their aircraft to avoid the potential of a midair collision. This could delay the airborne response to the fire and create a larger threat to people and property in the area. Unless involved in the firefighting operation, drone pilots should avoid flying near wildfires at all costs.

Drone operators can also check the local fire index to see what the wildfire risk is in their local area. The fire index layer in SkyGrid Flight Control app indicates the highest risk in red and the lowest risk in yellow. Operators should be extra cautious in areas with a high risk.

drone pre-flight checklist

5. Evaluate airspace classes & advisories

Hopefully this step is already part of your drone pre-flight checklist, but if not, it’s a critical one! Before taking flight, drone operators should check the airspace classes and altitude ceilings in their area. If flying in U.S. controlled airspace (Class A, B, C, D or E), flight authorization is required.

The airspace map in SkyGrid Flight Control identifies each airspace class and displays the pre-approved ceilings where LAANC is available for auto-approval. But no matter if you’re flying in controlled airspace or not, it’s always important to check for drone flight restrictions in your area. These FAA restrictions are often issued around military bases and high-security events. Operators who violate these flight restrictions may be subject to civil penalties and criminal charges.

SkyGrid Flight Control shows both part-time and full-time National Security UAS Flight Restrictions (NSUFRs). See example of UAS flight restrictions shown in red below.

drone pre-flight checklist restrictions
Detailed, up-to-date data is critical to minimize flight risks, especially when you consider how quicky conditions can change in low-altitude airspace. Our free SkyGrid Flight Control makes it easy to improve your situational awareness with advanced airspace, regulatory, and location data.
 

Download SkyGrid Flight Control today to start adding these steps to your drone pre-flight checklist.

Automate Drone Flight Planning with SkyGrid Flight Control

No matter your mission, whether to inspect a pipeline, respond to an emergency, or secure a perimeter, the drone flight planning process shouldn’t be so complex. The burden typically falls on drone operators to manually plan and execute their flights, but it’s often a laborious, time-consuming process.

At SkyGrid, we’re simplifying this process with more automation and efficiency.

Our free SkyGrid Flight Control app provides a complete solution to check airspace, get LAANC, automate flights, and detect objects in real-time. We eliminate the manual workflows by automating drone flight planning and autonomously executing the mission.

Get the scoop from our product team and read on for more details.


 

What kind of missions can drone operators plan?

SkyGrid Flight Control automatically generates mission plans based on the drone operator’s flight parameters, such as start and end time, desired speed, altitude, and location. The different types of missions operators can choose from include:

Area Exploration Missions

Our area exploration capabilities enable drone operators to automatically generate sweep missions to surveil a defined area. Operators can specify the altitude they want to fly, the mission speed, and the distance between sweeps based on their objectives. For example, an operator conducting a search and rescue mission may opt for 30-foot sweeps to ensure no area is left unchecked, while an operator surveilling a construction site may select 100-foot sweeps to get a high-level view of construction progress.

drone sweep mission

Path Missions

Our path missions enable drone pilots to generate routes that follow a set of sequential waypoints. This approach could be useful for a wide variety of missions across public safety, inspections, security, and more. For example, operators can generate a path mission to inspect oil and gas pipelines, monitor swimmers along a beach shoreline, or surveil a perimeter around a high-security building.

During drone flight planning, operators can choose to have the drone auto-land at the end of the path or return home after the mission is complete.

drone waypoint mission

Multi-Objective Missions

Drone operators can also create more complex mission plans with multiple objectives. For example, in the event of a traffic incident, law enforcement agencies could generate a path mission to the incident and combine it with an area exploration mission to gather situational awareness before emergency teams arrive.

drone flight planning

Free Flight Missions

Our app also offers free flight capabilities, enabling operators to create flight boundaries where they can freely operate their drone. This could be beneficial for recreational drone pilots, as it allows pilots to get LAANC in controlled airspace without requiring a flight plan.

Free flight missions can also benefit commercial operators, especially when the area is less defined. For example, in response to a natural disaster, emergency responders can set up a free flight mission around a neighborhood to detect people, vehicles, or animals in destress with our AI computer vision. The free flight capabilities allow them to hone in on the most damaged areas within the neighborhood in real time.

drone flight boundaries

Object-Centric Missions

For enterprise customers, we also offer object-centric missions to automatically generate flight plans around vertical assets and structures, such as bridges, towers, and refineries. This capability can help simplify infrastructure and utility inspections. Based on the mission objectives, our AI computer vision models can also be trained to detect defects, recognize parts, and more.
 

Why use SkyGrid for drone flight planning?

Bottom line: we do the heavy lifting in the flight planning process. Based on your mission objectives, SkyGrid Flight Control will automatically generate a flight plan and autonomously execute the mission. Once a flight plan has been saved, operators can repeat the mission as often as needed. This simplifies routine inspections and surveillance missions that are conducted on a regular basis.

And with LAANC integrated directly in the drone flight planning process, we make compliance easy. We check all flight details to inform the operator if they’re eligible for auto-approval or if modifications are required to comply with LAANC. We also alert users of nearby stadiums, infrastructure, and other factors that may violate the Part 107 rules.
 

Download SkyGrid Flight Control for free in the iPad App Store or learn more about our advanced enterprise features.

LAANC Capabilities Simplify Flight Authorization & Compliance

SkyGrid LAANC

Over the last three years, the FAA’s Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) has become an important tool to automate drone flight authorization in U.S. controlled airspace under 400 feet. LAANC authorization essentially eliminated the manual approval process that previously took up to three months.

As an FAA-approved UAS Service Supplier of LAANC, SkyGrid provides commercial (Part 107 Auto-Approval and Part 107 Further Coordination) and recreational (Section 44809) LAANC authorizations.

Check out a quick overview of our LAANC services and read on for more details:


 

What’s included in SkyGrid’s LAANC services?

Now available through our free SkyGrid Flight Control application, our LAANC services enable drone operators to:

  • Receive real-time LAANC authorizations for Part 107 commercial and recreational drone operations under 400 feet in U.S. controlled airspace.
  • Request further coordination to fly above the designated altitude ceiling in a UAS Facility Map, up to 400 feet. These requests can be submitted up to 90 days in advance, and the approval is coordinated manually through the FAA.
  • Access UAS Facility Maps that show pre-approved ceilings in controlled airspace and specify if further coordination is available. See example of the airspace ceilings below:

UAS facility maps

  • View airspace schedules to check specific times when LAANC authorization may or may not be required.
  • View Special Use Airspace data, airports and airspace classes, Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFRs) and Notices to Airmen (NOTAMs).
  • Check for both part-time and full-time National Security UAS Flight Restrictions (NSUFRs). See example of UAS flight restrictions shown in red below:

UAS flight restrictions

What’s new with LAANC?

The FAA just added 133 new areas of U.S. controlled airspace for LAANC authorization. That means drone operators can now use SkyGrid Flight Control to get automated flight approval at 537 air traffic facilities and 726 airports.

Through SkyGrid’s latest LAANC certification with the FAA, drone pilots can also get authorized in areas that span up to 10 nautical miles. LAANC authorization has also been enabled during civil twilight hours, provided the drone has anti-collision lighting visible for at least 3 statute miles. This provides more flying time that’s not strictly limited to daylight hours.
 

Why use SkyGrid’s LAANC services?

We provide more than just an airspace map and LAANC authorization. Our SkyGrid Flight Control app simplifies compliance by integrating LAANC directly into the flight planning workflow. That means drone operators can seamlessly plan their mission, ensure their flight meets all LAANC criteria, and get auto-approval to fly.

As you can see below, LAANC is not required for the mission plan on the left, and LAANC is required for the mission plan on the right and auto-approval is available.

LAANC authorization

Rather than planning a mission after LAANC authorization, this approach provides more assurances that all requirements are checked before you take flight.

Stay tuned for more updates as we continue to roll our new LAANC features and functionality!
 

Download SkyGrid Flight Control for free in the iPad App Store or learn more about our advanced enterprise features.

Your Go-To Airspace Map for Safe Drone Operations

drone weather

At SkyGrid, we recognize how important it is to access detailed, up-to-date airspace intelligence before taking flight. That’s why we’re providing the most robust airspace map to help drone operators ensure every mission is safe and successful.

Our free, SkyGrid Flight Control app provides a complete solution to check airspace, get LAANC, automate flights, and detect objects in real-time. At the center of this app is our airspace map with detailed airspace, regulatory, and location data.

Check out the quick overview from our team and read on for more details:
 

 

Airspace & Weather Intelligence

Our airspace intelligence includes advanced weather data, such as precipitation, temperature, wind speed and direction, cloud cover, visibility, and more.

The hyper-local weather data is updated every 60 seconds and detailed to the 500-meter radius, compared to traditional weather sources that can take up to 20 minutes to update and only provide a 2,000- to 4,000-meter radius. When you consider how quickly weather patterns can change, more detailed, near-real-time data becomes critical to minimize risks in the airspace, especially when flying smaller drones that are less resilient in harsh weather conditions.

As shown below, pilots can select a tile on our airspace map for an overview of the hyper-local weather details. Pilots can also check for drone air traffic from the SkyGrid system.

Drone airspace map with weather

Regulatory Data & Advisories

Our regulatory data includes airspace classes and advisories from the FAA, such as UAS flight restrictions. We also display the FAA’s UAS Facility Maps that show the pre-approved ceilings in controlled airspace where LAANC is available for auto-approval. This information allows a user to plan flights that can be approved in near near-time, rather than waiting for the plan to be manually reviewed.

For example, the area in purple shows Class C airspace where auto-approval is available up to the pre-approved altitude displayed in the grid, and the area in red indicates a National Security UAS Flight Restriction issued by the FAA.

airspace map with drone flight restrictions

Location Insights with Ground Intelligence

Our location insights include local buildings, obstacles, population density, elevation, and roadway traffic.

The elevation layer is mapped to 0.1-meter height increments, providing the vertical precision necessary to safely route drones over areas with varying elevations. The numbers displayed on our airspace map represent the highest ground elevation in each area to simplify the flight planning process.

drone airspace map with elevation data

Our airspace map also displays roadway traffic to help drone operators avoid flying over congested areas that may pose a risk to vehicles and people on the ground. As you’d expect, the green roads represent light traffic whereas the red roads represent heavy traffic. Operators can use this tool to understand what time of the day has the least amount of traffic and schedule their missions accordingly.

drone map with roadway traffic

Drone pilots also have the option to evaluate the airspace map with a satellite view or in 3D, making it easier to plan inspections and other object-centric flights. When reviewing their mission plan, different point of views also help drone pilots ensure there are no buildings or infrastructures too close to the flight path.

drone airspace map

For enterprises, SkyGrid also offers advanced data layers based on the unique needs of the mission. These data layers can include manned air traffic, foot traffic, radar-detected objects, and other data layers customized to the specific enterprise. To further simplify drone operations, enterprises can also leverage our AI technology to automatically plan, execute, and adapt flights as conditions change.

We know navigating low-altitude airspace is complex, but we aim to make it simple, safe, and secure.
 

Download SkyGrid Flight Control for free in the iPad App Store or learn more about our advanced enterprise features.

SkyGrid Flight Control: An All-in-One Drone App

SkyGrid

In case you missed it, SkyGrid just launched the first all-in-one drone app. What does that mean exactly? It means pilots can manage their entire drone workflow from airspace exploration and authorization… to flight planning and execution… to real-time insights… all within SkyGrid Flight Control™.

Free drone app

We recognized the challenge many drone operators are facing today by using several different tools to check airspace, get LAANC, plan flights, and safely execute them. It’s a cumbersome process that requires too many manual workflows and can lead to disconnected information as you switch between different applications.

We set out to solve this challenge by automating every phase of flight in one drone app. SkyGrid Flight Control automates flight authorization, planning, and execution to radically simplify your operations.

And we’re the only drone app built on artificial intelligence and blockchain technologies. Our AI computer vision enables real-time object detection while our patented blockchain system provides enhanced data privacy of all pilot, flight, and drone data stored within the app.

Learn more about the app experience in our latest video:

We’ll have more insights to share from our product experts in the coming weeks so stay tuned!

In the meantime, you can get started today by downloading SkyGrid Flight Control for free in the iPad App Store. You can also check out our advanced enterprise features, such as geofencing, custom object detection, and multi-drone missions, for more complex drone operations.

Happy flying!

Ali

LAANC 101: Getting FAA Authorization to Fly Commercial Drones

Commercial drones FAA LAANC

The FAA predicts 835,000 commercial drones and 1.4 million recreational drones will be in use by 2023, significantly increasing the number of unmanned aircraft that will coexist with manned aircraft in the airspace.

As more drones take flight, it becomes critical to follow the airspace rules and regulations. But the rules depend on your mission. For example, recreational users have a fairly short list of rules to follow. In a nutshell: Register your drone. Fly under 400 feet in uncontrolled airspace. Avoid controlled airspace near airports. And keep your done within visual line of sight. Easy enough.

On the other hand, the rules for commercial drone operators are a bit more complex. You’re required to become a certified drone pilot and follow the FAA’s Part 107 rules. But many commercial pilots need to fly in controlled airspace and operate outside of the Part 107 limitations to complete their missions. That’s where LAANC and Part 107 waivers come into the picture.

Don’t worry, we’ll break it down for you. Here’s what you need to know to fly commercial drones.
 

What is the FAA’s LAANC?

Under Part 107, drone pilots planning to fly in controlled airspace near U.S. airports must get FAA permission via the Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (aka LAANC). LAANC gives drone pilots near real-time authorization to access controlled airspace at or below 400 feet while providing air traffic controllers visibility into when and where drones are operating.
 

How do I access the FAA’s LAANC?

Drone operators can access LAANC through UAS Service Suppliers like SkyGrid. SkyGrid is approved by the FAA to provide both recreational and commercial LAANC services that automate authorization to fly drones in U.S. controlled airspace at or below 400 feet. Our free SkyGrid Flight Control app simplifies the flight approval process by integrating LAANC directly into the flight planning workflow. That means drone operators can seamlessly plan their mission, ensure their flight meets all LAANC criteria, and get auto-approval to fly.

SkyGrid also provides Part 107 Further Coordination so operators can request to fly above the designated altitude ceiling in a UAS facility map, up to 400 feet.
 

What is a Part 107 waiver, and do I need one?

Keep in mind that LAANC is strictly for approving flights classified under the current Part 107 regulations. If your organization needs to operate drones outside of these regulations, a Part 107 waiver will be required. For example, some organizations may need to fly drones over people or fly drones beyond visual line of sight in order to complete their mission. Other organizations may need to fly multiple drones with one operator or fly drones at night. If that’s the case, you’ll need to request a Part 107 waiver from the FAA.
 

How do I get approved for a Part 107 waiver?

Organizations can request a Part 107 wavier via the FAA’s DroneZone application. When applying, include details about your operation, drone capabilities, and pilot experience. Also be prepared to explain how you’ll minimize risks when operating drones outside of the Part 107 regulations. Ultimately, the FAA wants to ensure you’re equipped to manage unforeseen circumstances in the airspace. They’ll be looking for details about the technology, training, equipment, and personnel you have in place to operate drones safely and securely for every flight.
 

How do I set up a safe drone operation?

That’s difficult to do without the right technology. Many organizations will need a system to understand the airspace, generate the safest route, and avoid new hazards or environmental changes that may occur inflight. Those with a bigger drone operation will also need technology to address maintenance needs at scale and ensure their drones are always safe to fly. SkyGrid’s advanced enterprise features make it easy for organizations to safely navigate the complex airspace and optimize their drone fleet.
 

How do I stay compliant once I’m approved to fly?

The FAA shares airspace data with UAS Service Suppliers like SkyGrid to help drone operators stay compliant with regulations. This data includes airport facility maps, airspace classifications, temporary flight restrictions (TFRs), and notices to airmen (NOTAMs).

However, there are several other factors drone operators need to consider for a safe and secure flight. These factors include weather conditions like wind, turbulence, and precipitation; location data like terrain, buildings, and bridges; and vehicle data like battery life and maintenance requirements. To avoid potential accidents, drone operators should also consider activity on the ground below, such as roadway traffic and foot traffic.

At SkyGrid, we’re fueling our system with these data sources to help drone operators minimize risks and generate the optimal route every time. Our goal is to safely integrate all unmanned aircraft in the global airspace, which requires the most up to date information from trusted sources.