UAS Night Operations: Recreational and Part 107 Pilots

SkyGrid Flight Control LAANC 44809 Nighttime Operations

Nighttime flights can provide drone pilots with new opportunities and perspectives and are sometimes essential for tasks such as security monitoring or search and rescue missions. Whether you’re seeking a unique photo opportunity, or it is critical to your operations, it’s possible to fly your drone safely and reliably at night. However, it is crucial to understand the regulations governing nighttime drone flights to ensure compliance with the law. To learn everything, you need to know about flying drones at night, have a look at our comprehensive guide. 


What are the Part 107 rules for flying at night? 

Part 107 licensed drone pilots are permitted to conduct nighttime operations as long as they meet two requirements. Firstly, they must have completed either an online recurrent training or an updated initial knowledge test. Secondly, their drones must be equipped with anti-collision lighting that is visible for at least three statute miles and flashing at a rate that is sufficient to avoid collisions.  

If you do not currently hold a Part 107 license, the application process remains unchanged. With night operations allowed, you can expect some of the questions in the knowledge test to touch on how to fly drones at night and the risks associated with it. To help you prepare for the knowledge test, Pilot Institute’s Part 107 Made Easy course can help you pass the FAA Part 107 drone license test. The FAA Safety website offers a variety of other training modules that may be valuable to drone pilots and worth exploring. 


What are the recreational drone pilot rules for flying at night? 

Recreational drone pilots don’t need a license to fly their drones at night. However, when flying drones at night, all of the standard daytime flight rules apply. Pilots still need to fly below 400 feet Above Ground Level (AGL), maintain visual line of sight (VLOS), and their drones must be equipped with operational anti-collision lights, which can be seen for 3 statute miles and have a flash rate sufficient to avoid a collision.  


Flying at night in controlled airspace 

Part 107 drone pilots can take advantage of a LAANC system that allows for night operations in controlled airspace. By submitting a request through LAANC, pilots can receive authorization to fly at night as long as they specify the hours during which they plan to operate their drone. Keep in mind that all other regulations on night operations still apply when flying in controlled airspace. 

Starting on February 20, 2023, recreational flyers may now apply for near real-time airspace authorizations to operate at night through LAANC. It’s important to note that recreational flyers must meet the requirements of the Exception for Limited Operations of Unmanned Aircraft and follow the safety guidelines of FAA-Recognized Community Based Organizations (CBO’s). 

With the release of LAANC v6.2 on the SkyGrid Flight Control platform recently, we hope you have had a chance to update your app and try out the new LAANC at night functionality. This version of LAANC allows recreational pilots to request authorization to operate during the night in controlled airspace directly in the SkyGrid Flight Control app 


What anti-collision lights should you use? 

Anti-collision lights are designed to make drones visible to any manned aircraft flying overhead, which is why they are installed on the top of the drone. The lights are not primarily intended to make the drone visible to the drone pilot, although it is a bonus if they are bright enough to be visible from the ground. The main purpose is to ensure that other aircraft in the vicinity can see the drone and avoid a potential collision. There are four things to look out for when looking for appropriate anti-collision lights:  

  1. Regularity of light (i.e., light is blinking/strobe) 
  2. Color of light (i.e., light is white or red) 
  3. Do the lights comply with the 3-statute mile visibility requirement of the FAA? 
  4. How well do the lights perform when mounted at the top of the drone? 

Getting your lights right is essential not just to avoid colliding with another drone but to avoid endangering a manned flight. Many companies sell after-market lighting solutions for popular drone brands. Pilot Institute has tested some of the most popular anti-collision lights and compared their features and visibility at night in this article. 


Tips to ensure safe and FAA-compliant operations when flying a UAS at night: 
  • Make sure your anti-collision light is on and visible from up to 3 miles away before take-off to maintain FAA compliance and aid in visibility of the aircraft. After-market lighting solutions are available from companies such as LumeCube, which has a good reputation 
  • To compensate for night blind spots, try looking 5 to 10 degrees off-center of the sUAS 
  • Consider designating one or more visual observers (VOs) to scan for other aircraft or obstacles during your operation 
  • Remember that night operations are defined as any operation that takes place between evening and morning civil twilight. This is important to keep in mind as you plan your flight.  
  • Establish a well-lit night landing area 
  • Immediately land the UAS if you cannot determine its location relative to other aircraft. 


The ability to fly drones at night without the need for waivers has significantly improved the capabilities of drone pilots. After a transitional period, this benefit has also been extended to controlled airspace through quick and efficient LAANC requests. This increased flexibility has not only benefited drone pilots, but it has also reduced the workload for the FAA by eliminating the need for waiver processing. 

This is just one example of how drone legislation is rapidly evolving. The FAA’s support of the growing drone community is evident through this change. As drone pilots, it’s important to comply with the rules to ensure safe nighttime operations. 

To benefit from enhanced and unprecedented access to the airspace like never before, download SkyGrid Flight Control for free today. 

Benefits of Using Drones for Disaster Management

drones disaster management

Catastrophic events and disasters are inevitable, necessitating the implementation of proactive measures and emergency response protocols. A transformation in the field of disaster management and control is urgently needed. 

Disaster management has been one of the government’s biggest challenges. The effectiveness of disaster management mostly rests on quick response times and initiatives when providing assistance. The type and severity of the crisis necessitate different safety precautions, which eventually determine the fate of those impacted. We can assess the extent of the crisis through a variety of methods and tools because of modern advancements.  

Such advancements have been achieved in drone technology, which has progressed significantly and proven invaluable for disaster management. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) like drones have exhilarating advantages, such as timely outcomes and crucial features that assist during times of crisis.  


Significance of Drone Technology for Disaster Management  

Technological advancements have come far in the last decade and have been recognized by governmental entities as invaluable tools. One of the government’s top priorities is ensuring communities’ safety during emergency responses. The significant improvements in technology for disaster management considerably enhance what can be done on the ground. The increasing use of drones, quadcopters, and UAVs helps to manage and sustain the populace during such trying times.  

Drones and other unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are used to deliver assistance to those in need quickly. The value of using UAVs to provide aid effectively has dramatically increased the bar for disaster management 


Applications of Drones for Disaster Management 

Because of drones’ natural qualities of agility, quick maneuverability, GPS navigation, charting, and cost-effectiveness, they’re perfectly suited to provide assistance during disaster management. The capability of UAVs to deliver real-time aerial imagery is crucial because it helps to understand the situation on the ground. Quadcopters and drones promote and nurture the capability to view remote locations and sites from the air at a fraction of the cost compared to helicopters. 

1. Assessing Situations Remotely 

Drones’ quickness and dexterity make it possible to track and survey catastrophe areas and zones in a short time. Disasters often cover vast areas of land or sea, and UAVs and quadcopters’ ability to cover a lot of ground fast has made it easier to examine disaster-affected areas and remote locations.  

High-resolution sensors enable drones to simultaneously gather the necessary data and take real-time pictures of the incident. Because of drones‘ fluid motion and hover capabilities, data is gathered more quickly than with traditional aircraft or satellites. The processed 3D-mapped data can then be used to facilitate swift and prompt action.  

2. Mapping Locations 

UAVs are improving thanks to their 3D scaling and mapping characteristics. With the aid of drones and rotorcraft, disaster management and control procedures have advanced. Obtaining information in great detail is mainly possible due to 3D mapping. Data for emergency response include coordinates, tracking details, and aerial photos of landslides, floods, forest fires, and other disasters. These data formats are translated onto 3D scales that improve the visibility of disaster locations. 

3. Delivering Urgent Supplies 

UAVs’ capacity to provide emergency supplies further demonstrates their importance in disaster management. First aid, quick-acting medications, and small instruments like ropes or lamps are all included in emergency kits. Additionally, drones can deliver food supplies if needed.  

4. Extinguishing Fires  

Wildfire outbreaks are among the most frequent events that occur both during and after disasters. The methods used to put out fires are labor-intensive and time-consuming. Drones can assist in warning surface controllers of probable fire so that they’re ready to send firefighters and paramedics to the right locations. In other situations, quadcopters can spray water on a fire to prevent it from spreading. The occurrence and spread of fire can be further controlled in this way.  

Drones, UAVs, and RPAS provide the public with skilled and effective assistance. Drones have been able to draw the interest of the government and aid organizations by demonstrating their high effectiveness in terms of cost, time, and ease of use. 

To read more about Skygrid’s efforts to dive deeper into the benefits of drones in disaster management, visit us here. 

Drone Automation Made Easy with SkyGrid Flight Control

Drone automation made easy with SkyGrid Flight Control

Drones have been the subject of interest in recent times for the convenience, flexibility, and efficiency they offer. More than that, their potential to possibly revolutionize certain processes, businesses, and industries has been apparent. They assess hurricane damage, deliver aid to devastated areas, inspect pipelines to prevent leaks in the oil and gas industry, and they have been used to develop reliable railway inspection systems.  

However, planning, executing, and adapting a flight within the complexity of the airspace is no easy task, and relying on manual effort could prove to be a mistake. After all, humans are error-prone. Drone automation is critical to scale operations safely and enable more advanced missions. 

At SkyGrid, we’re solving this challenge with a smarter drone solution that automates every phase of flight. Our free SkyGrid Flight Control app makes it easy to generate flight plans, get auto-approval to fly, and autonomously execute the mission. 

Check out a quick overview of our drone automation capabilities and read on for more details. 

How does SkyGrid automate drone operations?  

In our recent posts, we explored how SkyGrid Flight Control 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. Rather than planning a mission after LAANC authorization, this approach ensures that all requirements are checked before you take flight. 

We also explored how SkyGrid Flight Control enables operators to automatically generate mission plans based on the flight parameters, such as the start and end time, altitude, speed, and distance between sweeps. Once the mission plan is finalized, our app allows operators to autonomously launch their drone, perform the pre-defined flight plan, and get real-time insights. 

More specifically, operators can take the following actions during flight: 

  • Autonomously execute single and multi-objective missions. 
  • Monitor your drone’s real-time camera feed. 
  • View real-time mission progress as you execute a flight plan. 
  • Pause and resume your mission. 
  • Take photos and videos during the flight. 
  • View native control functions, like camera settings, speed, heading and more. 

For example, gathering rapid situational awareness is crucial in search and rescue (SAR) situations. The faster rescue teams can locate a missing or injured person and coordinate a ground team response; the more likely the operation will result in a positive outcome. SkyGrid optimizes the distribution of drones over a defined space, calculating the most efficient routes for a vehicle within a given time frame. Drone operators can either define the area they wish to survey and the size of their fleet to determine the time necessary to survey a site or define the area and time required for a survey to determine the optimal search pattern to complete a mission.  

Operators also have the option to manually take control of the flight at any point in time during an automated mission. For example, during a pipeline inspection, an operator may identify an object of interest in the live video feed and take control to inspect the object more closely. 

Drone automation for pipeline inspection

Drone automation made easy for commercial pilots. 

We’re using AI and blockchain to interpret complex airspace, environment and vehicle data, solving the industry’s biggest challenges in executing autonomous drone operations and integrating unmanned aircraft into rapidly changing airspace. 

SkyGrid uses AI to uncover previously invisible characteristics hidden in airspace, vehicle, and location data to more intelligently monitor, route, synchronize and maintain unmanned operations. In addition to ingesting unique data feeds, such as cellular connectivity maps and ground-based traffic patterns, SkyGrid fills a former unsolved gap in airspace information by including real-time drone sensor data in our understanding of airspace. 

Our AI algorithms can analyze crucial data, such as drone sensor data and activity history, to provide visibility into vehicle health, aircraft performance and required maintenance. This helps us identify performance issues before they jeopardize the safety of people, infrastructure and other aircraft around them. 

We use blockchain to provide next-generation security and auditability, safeguarding the integrity of unmanned flight data and encoding airspace rules into flight operations as mandatory flight parameters. Airspace boundaries, thresholds, and safety parameters are encoded as blockchain rules to mandate compliance. All information transmitted through our system, including flight plans and historical logs, is tamper-proof and can never be altered. Past flight and service logs are easily accessible with telemetry data on when and where each flight occurred. 

SkyGrid is a unified platform that provides frictionless, end-to-end services for the drone ecosystem. Our integrated system enables everything from airspace management to fleet operations, offering a single platform that continuously monitors, predicts, and adapts to changing regulatory dynamics, aircraft performance, and location information, enabling a new degree of autonomy. 

Ultimately, we simplify drone operations with more automation in one application for pilots and enterprises. Rather than using several different apps to find up-to-date weather and environmental information, get LAANC approval, plan flights, and execute missions, SkyGrid Flight Control provides a complete solution to automate flight authorization, planning, and execution.  


Download SkyGrid Flight Control for free in the Apple App Store. You can also check our advanced enterprise features for more complex commercial drone operations.

Smart Drone Flight Planning with SkyGrid Flight Control

Smart Drone Flight Planning

At SkyGrid, we set out to simplify the flight planning process with more automation and efficiency.  

Our free SkyGrid Flight Control app provides a complete solution to automatically generate area sweeps and waypoint missions based on flight parameters, such as desired speed, altitude, and location. Drone operators can also generate flight plans to meet multiple mission objectives, such as area exploration missions over two or more defined areas. The burden typically falls on drone operators to manually plan and execute their flights, but it’s often a laborious, time-consuming process. Our mission planner eliminates the manual workflows by automating drone flight planning and autonomously executing the mission. 

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

The types of missions drone operators can 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. In the SkyGrid Flight Control app, the following types of mission objectives are available for the operator to choose from. 

Path Missions 

Our path missions enable drone pilots to generate routes that follow a series of sequential, operator-defined waypoints that the drone will autonomously execute. The path missions could be useful for a wide variety of missions across inspections, public safety, security, and more. For example, operators can generate a path mission to surveil a perimeter around a high-security building, monitor swimmers along a beach shoreline, or inspect thousands of miles of oil and gas pipelines.  

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 Flight Planning - Path Objective

Free Flight Missions 

Our app also offers free flight capabilities, enabling operators to create flight boundaries where they can freely operate their drone. Free Flight missions are defined areas in which an operator can manually fly or choose to request LAANC only. This could be beneficial for commercial operators, especially when the area is less defined. For example, emergency responders using drones for fire protection, response, and reconnaissance, can set up a free flight mission around a designated area to detect people, vehicles, or animals in distress with our AI computer vision. The free flight capabilities allow them to concentrate on the most damaged areas within the response area in real-time. Free flight missions can also benefit recreational drone pilots, as it allows pilots to get LAANC in controlled airspace without requiring a flight plan.

Drone Flight Planning - Free Flight Objective

Area Exploration Missions 

Our area exploration missions are a series of parallel sweeps, or route paths, within a defined area that the drone will autonomously execute. This capability enables drone operators to automatically generate sweep missions to surveil a defined area. Based on their objectives, operators can specify the altitude they want to fly, the mission speed, and the distance between sweeps. For example, in search and rescue (SAR) situations, gathering rapid situational awareness is crucial; drone operators conducting a search and rescue mission may opt for 40-foot sweeps to ensure no area is left unchecked, while an operator surveilling a construction site may select 110-foot sweeps to get a high-level view of construction progress. 

Drone Flight Planning - Area Exploration Objective

Multi-Objective Missions 

Lastly, drone operators can 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 - Multiple Objectives

Why use SkyGrid for drone flight planning? 

With flight operations, we simplify the dynamic airspace by enabling drone operators to automatically plan and execute optimal flight paths with AI-based route planning and deconfliction from other aircraft and obstacles. 

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. 


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

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. 

Why Drone Programs Need to Integrate with New Technologies to Deliver Value

Ways Drone Programs Can Integrate With Other Robotics to Deliver Value

The use of drones in the commercial sector has skyrocketed in the last few years, and their potential is still yet to be fully seen. In 2016, the FAA defined the procedures for commercial drone use, and since then companies have increasingly turned to the new technology to support a number of business-facing priorities.

How drones are expected to impact multiple industries

The drone market size is expected to grow to a massive $63.6B by 2025, with much of that growth being driven by enterprise adoption in the agriculture, construction and mining, insurance, media and telecommunications, and law enforcement industries.

Because drones are able to get to hard to reach locations, they make perfect devices to assess the damage after a disaster, properly assess a construction site, and analyze farm fields to ensure crop output. Drones are also expected to make a huge impact on warehouse operations, improving overall inventory management, providing logistical support, and inspecting conditions that can help maintain a warehouse’s longevity.

Drones are also expected to be a major contributor to last-mile delivery, leading to deeper discounts companies can use to pass on to their customers and increase their market share.

But how organizations integrate and incorporate drones as part of their business development plans will be key in ensuring the technology makes a transformational impact. Several executive leaders have identified drone fleet management, airspace management, universal traffic management, as well as logistics, and operational management as crucial factors that need to be considered for drones to be used to their maximum potential.

How management solutions can address current challenges in drone management

Without the right drone management and airspace management system in place, your drone fleet program launch may lack key efficiencies that will eat away at the benefits you may have forecasted. 

Airspace visibility

Airspace visibility is crucial to ensure your drones have clear flight paths on their missions even in the face of external changes. Having a solution that accounts for changes in conditions and details is necessary in order to maintain operational efficiency and to keep your drones intact. 

A universal traffic management solution should be able to detect and alert you to any local environment conditions, any obstacles that may suddenly appear, and changes in weather conditions like temperature, wind, and precipitation. Without the right visibility, you’re essentially flying blind.

Maintenance gaps

Not being able to forecast maintenance requirements and overall drone performance can hinder a mission’s effectiveness and the longevity of your drone fleet. Having a platform that can not only predict when a drone will require a calibration adjustment or motor cleaning but also streamlines the process via measurable work orders centralizes the process, helping your team save time while increasing your drone’s longevity.

This can have significant long-term impacts on the effectiveness of your drone fleet, while minimizing any costs required in overall maintenance and drone device replacements.

Automating processes

Manual workflows can slow your team down as they try to obtain mission authorizations, certifications, and approvals, meet flight requirements, and ensure they’re adhering to any compliance or regulations. However, automated solutions can lessen the burden and automate many of the authorization requests, freeing up your team to handle more important and pressing tasks.

Leveraging key technologies for improving drone integration and performance

The use of AI has dramatically impacted how solutions handle drone management and airspace management. AI is, arguably, required, in order to handle and analyze the huge amounts of data that is constantly changing on a real-time basis. Otherwise, you may not be able to properly account for your airspace conditions or adapt your flight details in real-time. AI can give your team better information, faster, improving mission effectiveness.

New advances in blockchain technology and fostering the development of smart contracts can improve the certification and authorization process while helping drones meet flight requirements and specifications in certain airspaces. Blockchain technology can also be used to improve overall drone management, helping log flights and maintenance records in a more secure and accurate manner.

As organizations look to incorporate drones, they should take the time to ensure they have the right infrastructure and platforms to help support them.

To learn how SkyGrid’s AerialOS can help improve your airspace management, check out our overview page here