The B4UFly drone app just got a fresh update with one, key new feature called Notify & Fly.
The B4UFLY app is an app from the Federal Aviation Administration made in partnership with Aloft, the company formerly known as Kittyhawk, that helps show pilots important information including where they can and cannot fly with interactive maps. The app is available to download for free at the App Store for iOS and Google Play store for Android.
This week, the app just got a fresh new feature called Notify & Fly, which is intended for you to let other drone pilots know that you’re flying in the area. You submit your flight plans anonymously into the app, and other drone pilots on the app will know that you’re in the area.
The app’s creators suggest that the tool should be used by all pilots, whether you’re a hobbyist, a commercial pilot or saving lives as a first responder.
“Using Notify & Fly contributes to the overall safe integration of drones into the national airspace by increasing
situational awareness, without sacrificing privacy,” according to a statement from Aloft.
How Notify & Fly works
- Update your app to see the fresh new feature.
- A pin will automatically drop at your current location (you must have location services enabled).
- If you are in controlled airspace, you’ll see a ‘Get LAANC icon’ in the bottom right-hand corner, which you’ll need to click on to apply for a LAANC authorization. If you don’t see that icon, skip this step.
- Navigate to the main map screen, where you’ll see a Notify & Fly icon.
- Choose whether or not you’re a commercial operator, recreational pilot or first responder.
- Click ‘File Flight’ to submit it.
- Once submitted, a light blue circle will appear surrounding your flight area. An airspace advisory for your drone flight area will also appear for the next 60 minutes.
About the B4UFly app
At its initial launch, the B4UFly app was created and operated entirely by the FAA. But in August 2019, Aloft (then known as Kittyhawk) took the reins of the app with a mega relaunch. Kitthyhawk’s new, redesigned version of the app offered a more user-friendly view of what real-time airspace restrictions are in effect in the U.S. with easy-to-understand airspace guidance that includes Good to Go, Warning and Do Not Fly labels. The app also offers resources like educational content, safety tips, and LAANC, the FAA’s Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability for obtaining authorizations to fly in controlled airspace. (Aloft is also a LAANC partner).
Since the August 2019 relaunch, Aloft says its app has powered over 13 million searches of the airspace. Of late, the app averages 800,000 searches a month.
“Time and again, we’ve seen a huge unmet need among the vast majority of safety conscious drone pilots to proactively communicate their intentions on behalf of a safer airspace,” according to an Aloft statement. “Notify & Fly is a major step forward to solving this problem.”
Using the feature is not required for drone flights. So will you use it? Do you like it or not? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!