FAA’s B4UFLY App Will Help UAS Pilots Operate Safely and Legally

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: May 6, 2015
Contact: Les Dorr or Alison Duquette
Phone: (202) 267-3883



FAA’s B4UFLY App Will Help UAS Pilots Operate Safely and Legally

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today 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 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.
 
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Great timing, just got off the phone with my local airport, and the FAA.
I'm 4 miles off their main north/south run way. So always a little concerned about flying to high around my house.
Have my Phantom set to 121m max altitude. ( 400ft ? )
They thought i should be fine, but are going to get back to me.
Haven't seen any black helicopters hovering over my house so far.. :-/
 
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Just note that the current rules say "advise ATC", not ask permission.
But as a commercial pilot for 40 years, I can't imagine any aircraft below 1,000 ft at four miles from the airport.
 
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Thanks for posting that, Steve. Hell, I'd even pay a couple bucks for that app if it also has the airport tower phone numbers linked in it! This is a step in the right direction by the FAA for peaceful co-existence!

In the words of Rodney King: "Can't we all just get along?"
 
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Some interesting information on that site, the way it reads now the Notify ATC if within 5 miles is not an option, other than that and giving way to any manned AC it's pretty much open.
Until the Part 107 NPRM becomes rules, the current law states:
"(5) when flown within 5 miles of an airport, the operator of the aircraft provides the airport operator and the airport air traffic control tower (when an air traffic facility is located at the airport) with prior notice of the operation "
"Notify" being the operative word. Permission is not required.*
When the Part 107 and Part 101 rules are finalized sometime next year, "Notify" becomes "Obtain permission".

* Even though the rules currently say only to notify, if you get a response that includes the words "not recommended", then you should reconsider your flight plans.. Maybe ask the tower if there would be a better time slot to make the flight. "Not recommended" is the closest thing that you will get to a warning before the flight that you may find yourself facing a violation. Tower operators are not qualified nor allowed to tell you if they think the flight would violate any rules.
 
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The proposed Part 101.41 does not require "permission" to fly within 5 miles of an airport. Here is what Part 101.41 (Hobby flying) says:

(e) When flown within 5 miles of an airport, the operator of the aircraft provides the airport operator and the airport air traffic control tower (when an air traffic facility is located at the airport) with prior notice of the operation
Part 107 requires permission near airports:

(b) A small unmanned aircraft may not operate in Class B, Class C, or Class D airspace or within the lateral boundaries of the surface area of Class E airspace designated for an airport unless the operator has prior authorization from the Air Traffic Control (ATC) facility having jurisdiction over that airspace.
 
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Well, as I make it a point not to fly anywhere near controlled airspace it's not an issue, I spent to many hours left seating a Copter watching for 'Fast Movers' to want to be the cause of a precautionary.
 
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If someone gets intercepted by the police, can i show them this app that I was flying in a legal zone as per the FAA?
 
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If someone gets intercepted by the police, can i show them this app that I was flying in a legal zone as per the FAA?

Maybe. The FAA cares about what airspace you are flying "in". THe local police may be interested in where you are flying from.

Like the National Park situation. It is not illegal to fly OVER a park. But it IS illegal to fly FROM the actual park.

Law enforcement/local jurisdictions can control where you stand and what you do there. The FAA generally controls what you can do in the airspace.
 

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