SkyVector Publishes Drone Notams in Graphical Format

 - March 21, 2016, 9:58 AM
SkyVector's Drotams graphically highlight drone activity to help pilots see how flights might be affected.

Aviation charting website SkyVector has added a useful new feature—graphical depictions of drone notams, which it calls "drotams"—that show dimensions of drone/UAS airspace and information about activity times and operating altitudes. Drotams are available as a graphical layer on any kind of chart available from SkyVector. Clicking on a drotam shown on the chart pulls up a pop-up box with the notam information, including when the zone goes live, time until active, effective altitudes of the depicted zone and other available information.

The data originates from Lockheed Martin Flight Services. Notams about drone/UAS activity are published as text and can be difficult to interpret, not to mention that pilots often must page through multiple drone notams provided with an online weather briefing, many of which do not impinge on the planned flight path. This makes determining the notams’ applicability challenging.

The new SkyVector graphical drotams make assessing the impact of drone notams much simpler. SkyVector unveiled the new drotams feature to coincide with release of the film “Eye in the Sky,” which examines issues surrounding a drone missile strike with potential civilian casualties. The film uses SkyVector charts in many scenes. “While it is exciting to see SkyVector up on the big screen,” said SkyVector founder David Graves, “it’s more important to bring awareness and safety to a rapidly growing component of the National Airspace System. The sheer number of UAS operations is becoming a real safety-of-flight concern for pilots of manned aircraft.”