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Tech tips

Not sure about all the regulations when flying your drone? This app will help

Drones are no longer just for military use. These days anyone with a few extra bucks and some aerial curiosity can get into the drone game. They’re great for capturing footage in hard-to-reach areas. Tap or click here for details on Amazon’s security drone.

In the last few years, hobbyists have been purchasing drones and flying all over to capture Mother Nature in all her glory. But there are some regulations that all enthusiasts need to follow. It can be confusing to understand the rules and whether you are allowed to fly in certain areas.

A new app hopes to change that. For commercial and recreational drone pilots alike, this app will make your life easier so you can focus on what you love doing: flying your drone.

How does OpenSky work?

Available for both Android and Apple, OpenSky is an app developed by Wing. It is FAA approved, which means it’s legally allowed to tell you where, when and how you should be flying your drone. It just released its app in the U.S. for the first time.

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If you download the app, you’ll be following the FAA airspace rules and regulations in real-time! Even better, it allows you to request authorization to fly in controlled airspace.

Is it useful for hobbyists?

If you aren’t a commercial pilot and use your drone for fun, you may be wondering if you must use it. Here some scenarios where OpenSky might be helpful.

Aerial Photography

Perhaps you want to get aerial footage of a bridge in your hometown during high traffic hours. You may need permission to fly over this area. If you do, OpenSky will allow you to request it in real-time.

In some cases, you’ll get permission in seconds. This also works for public monuments, beaches and anywhere else you might not have open flying rights.

Tourist attractions

Who wouldn’t want an aerial photograph of Times Square or maybe the Brooklyn Bridge? The question is, can you fly a drone there without getting in trouble? OpenSky can answer these questions for you and help assist you in requesting the necessary permissions.

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How to use OpenSky

Once you download the app and accept the terms and conditions, using it is simple. First, you’ll want to allow OpenSky to access your location. It can’t help you navigate through FAA regulations without access to where you are flying.

You can use the app to see approved locations on a map or to reschedule flights. To schedule flights, you’ll need to create an account with OpenSky.

When using the map, you’ll see a variety of pins that tell you about the area. Here’s what they mean:

  • Green checkmark – You are good to go.
  • Orange exclamation point – Use caution.
  • Red with an X – You can not operate in this location.
  • Grey – No data available or unavailable in this location.

If you want more information, tap on the pin to see an explanation and further options.

If you are interested in downloading OpenSky, get the iOS version here and the Android version here.

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