Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Administrator Michael Huerta has announced the public release of the B4UFLY mobile app for Apple devices, as well as the beta version for Android devices.
B4UFLY tells unmanned aircraft system (UAS) operators about current or upcoming requirements and restrictions in national airspace. Huerta first announced the B4UFLY initiative last May at the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International’s annual event.
This announcement was made today at the Consumer Technology Association’s CES 2016 in Las Vegas.
“We expect B4UFLY will help raise public awareness about what it means to operate unmanned aircraft safely,” said Huerta. “It is another important part of our education and awareness efforts to foster a culture of safety and accountability for the UAS community.”
According to the FAA, the B4UFLY app includes a number of enhancements the agency developed as a result of user feedback during the beta testing.
Within two taps, the FAA says, users know if it is safe to fly at their current location. The app provides a status indicator that tells users, “Proceed with Caution,” “Warning – Action Required” or “Flight Prohibited.” The app also features a planner mode that allows users to select a different time and location for an upcoming flight and determine if there are any restrictions at that place and time.
By law, notes the agency, hobbyists who want to fly within five miles of an airport must notify the airport operator and the air traffic control facility (if there is one) prior to flying.
For now, however, B4UFLY will ask users who are supposed to notify the airport before flying for voluntary information about their planned flight. This will not meet the statutory requirement to notify the airport and air traffic control facility, but the data will help the agency make informed policy decisions related to notification, according to the FAA, which adds that this information will not be publicly available.
The app can now be downloaded in the App Store. The Android beta version can be downloaded from Google. More information can be found here.