FAA B4UFLY App Gives Drone Operators Heads Up On No-Fly Zones (And Wildfires)
So, you're worried that your drone might get shot down in mid-air, and would very much like to avoid that. Well, there's some good news: the Federal Aviation Administration has come to the rescue in an almost unlikely way.
With its "B4UFLY" app, which is in very limited beta testing, you'll be able to quickly glance at your smartphone and see if you're given a virtual a-OK to fly your drone in the area. That might sound simple, but this app is actually very surprising in what it can do, or will do in the future.
For starters, you're able to "plan" a drone flight for a future date, and if it conflicts with any scheduled events in the area that would prevent you from going ahead with it, it will tell you. It could also update on-the-fly to let you know if a fire is preventing drones from being allowed to fly (although one would think that'd be obvious anyway.).
Another neat future feature is one that would allow you to merely tap a button to notify an airport that you're nearby, since, when you are within 5 miles of one, you'd be required to do that. Again, this seems to be something almost unnecessary, since if you are within 5 miles of an airport, you're probably not oblivious to it. But, at least the option would be there.
One of the biggest reasons this app is still in limited beta is likely due to the fact that a database has to be built-up to automatically warn you about the area you are in for static areas, like airports. Real-time updates are something else that'd have to be worked on. Overall though, this is a very cool app, and all we can hope is that when it becomes publicly available, people will actually make use of it.