NATS drone safety app gets 10,000 users in 10 weeks

NATS drone safety app gets 10,000 users in 10 weeks

23 February 2017

As the Government consultation on the safe use of drones in the UK continues, Drone Assist, a new app to help drone pilots comply with UK rules that was launched by NATS just 10 weeks ago, has seen over 10,000 registered users sign up.

Feedback from users of the app has been overwhelmingly positive, with huge levels of early engagement:

    • More than three million areas of airspace have been ‘served’ i.e. loaded onto people’s mobiles
    • More than 70,000 ‘interactions’ with airspace have taken place i.e. people have clicked on a piece of airspace, for example to read the warning information
    • 32,833 ground hazards have been ‘selected’ so that the user gets details on what the ground hazard is
    • Almost 5,000 ‘Fly Now’ reports have been created helping to reduce the risk of a drone related incident in the UK’s airspace. The ‘Fly Now’ function gives users the option to create a flight report so that users of the app, and the wider drone community, can see where other drone pilots are flying.

One user has described the app as “perfect for those who wish to fly drones responsibly.” They went on to say, “With the increasing complexity and capability of single operator drones, this app gives great insight into potential hazards within the intended area of operations. Some users may complain about the privacy of an app that requires registration but the benefit is the additional ability to provide information to other drone flyers of your operations and should be welcomed by responsible flyers. A worthwhile tool!”

Another comments, “I’m an avid drone user and didn’t know where I was safely and legally able to fly. Once through the quick log-in, the app is really easy to use and has very clear graphics so is exactly what you’d want. Would definitely recommend.”

Heatmap showing where flight reports have been filed

Drone Assist, powered by Altitude Angel and available for free on Android and iOS, presents drone pilots with an interactive map of areas of airspace used by commercial aircraft, as well as ground-based hazards that might pose a safety or privacy risk, such as power lines, schools or sports venues. Drone operators planning to fly near these areas – usually around airports and airfields – should ideally avoid them or exercise great caution. It also contains a ‘Fly Now’ feature that will share the user’s drone flight location with other app users, and the wider drone community, helping to reduce the risk of a drone related incident in the UK’s airspace.

Dronesafe.uk is also an invaluable tool for all drone pilots, hosting the CAA’s Dronecode and providing drone users with all of the information they need to fly safely and responsibly.

Phil Binks, NATS Drone Lead, said, “As drone sales continue to rise, so too do reports of near misses between drones and commercial aircraft in the UK. It is therefore more important than ever for drone users to have the tools and information needed to operate safely, which is what Drone Assist aims to provide. We’re delighted that the app has been so well received and hope that its use helps to contribute to safer airspace with more responsible drone users.”

See our eight top tips for flying a drone: http://nats.aero/droneflyingtips

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