AirMap Unveils Drone Digital Flight Notice Network

 - March 30, 2016, 10:20 AM
AirMap's Digital Notice and Awareness System (D-NAS) displays planned drone flight information on airport operators' computers.

Unmanned aircraft airspace information provider AirMap and the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) released a notification system to make airport operators aware of nearby drone flights. The Digital Notice and Awareness System (D-NAS) is a quasi flight planning and notam system for participating unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) operators and airports, allowing UAS operators to send encrypted digital flight notices to the airport’s operations center. 

“The new integration of this digital notice and awareness system will allow someone operating those drones to automatically give notice through the app they’re using,” explained AirMap CEO Ben Marcus. 

When planning a UAS flight within five miles of an airport that participates in D-NAS, the operator uses the drone app on a mobile device to send the notice to the airport. The digital notice (flight plan) then shows up on the D-NAS display on the airport’s computer with the planned location of the flight, radius, height and duration. While D-NAS is like a flight plan now, Marcus said, “Over time we plan more real-time updating.” 

Participating D-NAS drone manufacturers include DJI, Yuneec and 3DRobotics, but any drone operator will be able to submit a notice into D-NAS using the AirMap website or an upcoming iOS app. There is no charge for UAS operators to use D-NAS, and airport operators pay nothing during the testing period.

So far more than 50 airports have signed up for D-NAS, including airports in Houston; Denver; Columbus, Miss.; Charlotte, N.C.; Reno, Nev.; Wilmington, Del.; Cape May, N.J.; Fairbanks, Alaska; and Oxnard and Camarillo, Calif. “I think the airports are hungry for this kind of awareness,” Marcus said. “They’re clearly concerned about UAS, and we’re taking some pragmatic steps to carve away major chunks of risk by helping airports see where UAS are operating.”

To participate in D-NAS, the airport’s ICAO code has to be input into the AirMap system, then the airport has to create authorized users who can view the D-NAS display. AirMap is accepting all airports that want to participate in pilot testing. “We’re taking as many as we can get,” he said. “As we bring them on, we’re learning from the experience and improving the product and process and making sure the final product is as good as possible.”