Flight Planning in Authorization Zone


#1

What are the current best practices for flight planning within an Authorization Zone? I have ATC approval for a flight in Class D airspace, but the location is several hours drive from my location. Getting out there to find out that Drone Deploy isn’t working would be devastating.

I can unlock via DJI’s website, and file the flight plan via AirMap. Will DroneDeploy function correctly, allowing me to map areas within an Authorization Zone?


#2

DroneDeploy has an AirMap add-on in the market store, but a Class D should be telling you that ATC notification is good enough. How is your approval (waiver) documented?


#3

Its just a notification like you said, I confirmed with ATC today that the notification 24-48 hours in advance is sufficient for our operation.

I have the AirMap add-on, but its showing that theres controlled airspace in the area.


#4

Is the area in orange or yellow. Also, they have the specific regulations at the bottom of the page.


#5

In the DroneDeploy map, it is not shaded. However, in the AirMap add on, it comes up as Red “Flight Strictly Regulated”. with the following text “XX Airport Class D Airspace Request FAA 107 Waiver. Manual Authorization Coming Soon.”

Drone takes off in the simulator though.


#6

Can you verify that there isn’t something other than that specific airport? Beyond that you could always drive to a spot just inside the area and see if it will attempt to launch. I make this a habit if I am about to start a new project. I also have a drone on the side that will let me go.


#7

Looking at it on AirMap directly, there are some nearby powerplants, but I don’t overfly those. Other then that, its just the Airport. There are is no overlapping airspace. Its ~2 hours one way to drive to the site, so thats out of the question unless completely necessary.


#8

Beyond me, good luck! Please share your experience. I think this one will come up more and more in the future.


#9

Appreciate the insight and attempt to help.


#10

Patrick,

From your post it sound like you have just accessed AirMap from the DD app. Have you gone to the AirMap website on a desktop PC? I find that the desktop app is easier to navigate and access information about the restrictions that may apply.

Also, the latest version of DJI Go4 now uses a new geofencing method that employs a bow tie shape around airport runways to give warnings and, in higher risk areas, impose altitude or, in the worst case, complete flight restrictions. A few weeks ago, I had a mission just within the boundary of Class C airspace. I got authorization through AirMap and all looked good. Go4 flights for general photos were fine; however, I had problems with both the DD mission and an attempted GS Pro waypoint mission. Both started off fine but a few minutes into the flight they lost GPS signal and abandoned the mission. I had flown both DD and GS Pro missions on the site multiple times in the past with no problem.

The way that it affected both waypoint apps, I have to think that it had something to do with the new DJI geofencing algorithm. I haven’t been back to that site yet to see if it is still a problem.

Don’t know if this is much help but thought i would pass it along.

Steve


#11

Steven,

Did you attempt to do a self-lock via the DJI website prior to the flights? Getting authorization through AirMap is different, as it does not unlock the DJI GeoFence.

P


#12

As I recall it the Go4 app just gave me the typical “you are near to controlled airspace” warning which I acknowledged. It was the same warning that I have seen in the past. This was a few weeks ago just after DJI announced the new geofence system. I am not even sure that I had updated the Go4 app to the new system at that point. Also, I was at the very edge of controlled airspace and, as I later confirmed, outside of the new bow tie geofence zone.


#13

Hello! I would take a look at our No Fly Zone documentation for more information on restricted airspace. So as of right now, we cannot guarantee flight in an No Fly Zone despite being able to fly via DJI GO. Thanks!


#14

Following up on this thread and the new geofencing system in the DJI Go4 software. I flew the site referenced above again on Dec 13th and had no problems with the DD app. The site is located on the outer edge of Class C airspace (400 agl) and I applied for and received authorization through the stand alone AirMap app. The site was located outside of the modified bow tie authorization zone that now displays in the current version of the Go4 app so no DJI unlocking was necessary. DD performed flawlessly.

A second waypoint mission using the DJI GSPro app was attempted and it failed with the same “loss of GPS” fault as on the previous attempt. I had to return manually. I flew a standard mission with the DJI Go4 app to obtain the required oblique photos without a problem.

Around the same time, my co-worker attempted a DD flight in Greenville at a location that was within the DJI Authorization Zone. This mission was within a DJI Authorization Zone which he obtained via the DJI website: [https://www.dji.com/flysafe/self-unlock.] DJI’s authorization limited flight altitude to 100 AGL, The flight geofence also had a corner which extended into a red DJI “bow-tie” zone for which DJI states that “authorization is not available”.

AirMap and the FAA Maps showed the area as requiring LAANC Authorization (with 300 AGL max) for which an authorization was received through AirMap.

When the DD mission was flown (at 100 AGL - the drone would not fly higher) the drone performed fine until it reached the edge of the DJI unauthorized bow tie zone at which time it stopped and hovered in space. The bow tie zone could not be entered using either DD or the DJI Go4 app.

So clearly there is a discrepancy between the FAA LAANC Zones and the authorization zones in the DJI Go4 app. On the DJI website listed above they have a procedure for “custom unlocking” via email. It requires the submittal of written authorization documents from the agencies having jurisdiction and, obviously, appears rather tedious and time consuming. We have not attempted it yet.

This DJI vs LAANC discrepancy seems to appear at every airport with controlled airspace. I am not sure if the DJI system is ahead of it’s time and the LAANC clearance zones will be modified in the future or if DJI is just “taking a flyer” so to speak with their own system. Clearly it can be a nuisance in those instances where flight is allowed by the FAA but DJI’s software interferes.

Sorry I don’t have an easy fix but, hopefully, our experience will help other to understand whatr they can expect.

Steve


#15

DJI nor AirMap have ever depicted official airspace. Somewhere along the line, guys are “assuming” that they are somehow tied to the FAA. They are not. Never have been.

FAA sectionals and the FAA’s Arcgis Page should be referenced for official airspace depiction.

DJI and AirMap have their own agenda.


#16

These are all resources from the exam materials that everyone should already know.

http://vfrmap.com
https://www.faa.gov/uas/recreational_fliers/where_can_i_fly/b4ufly/


#17

vfrmap, skyvector, etc. are probably fine. But do keep in mind that they are not an official source of raster sectionals. You can get official copies here: https://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/flight_info/aeronav/digital_products/vfr/

B4ufly is really aimed at hobbyists. See #4 on the FAQ here: https://www.faa.gov/uas/recreational_fliers/where_can_i_fly/b4ufly/media/UAS_B4UFLY_QandA.pdf

If you want to go beyond the free tools, consider a paid source such as FlyQ EFB or Foreflight.

They are not “official” sources either. However a big difference is that they are used by professional manned aviation and are proven extremely good at being accurate. Their existence depends on it.


#18

Dave, sorry to be contradict your statement that, “Somewhere along the line, guys are “assuming” that they are somehow tied to the FAA. They are not. Never have been.” That is simply not correct. The FAA’s own website (see link below) specifically lists authorized LAANC service providers with both DJI and AirMap listed among them. When a 107 pilot applies for a LAANC clearance through AirMap, the text message he receives back says. "Automated FAA Controlled Airspace authorization accepted fro flight with confirmation ### . . . ". Please do not confuse people by insinuating that LAANC clearances are somehow not ligitimate.

https://www.faa.gov/uas/programs_partnerships/data_exchange/

Thanks

Steve


#19

Hi Steve.

My statement is absolutely correct. I was talking airspace depiction and you are talking LAANC portal. You are correct that AirMap is an FAA authorized LAANC portal. But that was not what I said. Airmap is not an official source of the National Airspace. I haven’t looked lately, but over the years, their depictions of restricted airspace have been not even close to reality.

So, if guys don’t understand the difference between using LAANC, and the official NAS classifications, I think they may need a little more study. Wouldn’t you agree?


#20

I have had two instances this month where AirMap shows me just outside of the 5-mile radius of ABIA. One was 1-block out and the other was 1/2-mile in. Additionally one was within another airspace that AMp didn’t show and the other was covered by medical helipads. All of which I had to call. Pays to cross-check.