NATS has launched a drone portal for commercial
and recreational drone pilots, that offers useful tools, advice and resources for those flying
drones in UK airspace.
The portal can help users plan their
flights, with access to the maps and information used in the app,
Drone Assist, which is powered by Altitude Angel.
There is also a
‘Checklist’, which both commercial and recreational drone pilots
can go through, answering questions about their planned flight.
This helps to determine what, if any, permission is needed, which
can vary based on the purpose of the flight and the environment in
which they plan to fly. It provides a simple way for people to
understand the rules and regulations they must adhere to when
operating a drone in a particular piece of airspace.
portal also provides operators, who have already received
permission from the CAA to fly commercially, information on how to apply to fly in areas of controlled airspace, as well as easy
access to the application process.
Training information is included, with details for
commercial, CAA approved courses given by Air Traffic Control
(ATC) experts with comprehensive experience of drones. Excitingly,
for recreational drone pilots, a free, interactive online training
course will be available and accessible through the portal by the
end of the year, which will give users a basic understanding of
the rules for flying a drone in the UK.
In the future, the log in/register capability
will allow drone pilots to chronicle flights and once the
recreational training offering is online, a more tailored
experience will be available, with users building up a profile of
their flights and competency.
It will also record commercial
users’ safety operations manual, which NATS helps individuals to
create when on a training course and documents procedures used to
operate safely in UK airspace.
A resources section features
news and views from people across the drone industry and regular
blog posts from experts around the world will provide interesting
insight into the various opportunities, challenges and innovations
in this ever-growing industry.
James Cranswick, NATS RPAS Business Manager, said, “We’re hoping
that this portal will be an invaluable tool for drone users in the
UK – both commercial and recreational – and give them the
confidence to fly safely and responsibly while also enjoying themselves. We fully support the drone industry and it is exciting
to see all of the opportunities that drones can provide; we are keen to do what we can to help encourage greater awareness and
understanding of drone use and UK airspace.”