A number of apps and websites are available to help safely plan flights in UK airspace. We have included a selection below (featuring developer’s product descriptions) which their developers have declared to meet the following criteria:
- Clear and accurate visualisation of relevant airspace with textual description
- Comprehensive and reliably up-to-date airspace database from an approved aeronautical information management source (to ensure timely inclusion of airspace changes and temporary restrictions or hazards)
- Includes UK drone safety regulations (e.g. the Drone and Model Aircraft code)
As a regulator, the CAA supports any measure to improve the safe use of drones but does not endorse individual products.
The CAA has not checked or approved the apps listed here. Full responsibility for safe operation remains with the person operating the drone. It is up to them to assure themselves of the accuracy of the data and comply with all UK drone rules and regulations.
You can also see airspace advice online (without using an app) via the NATS portal NATS UK | UAS Restriction Zones (ead-it.com)
Drone Assist is the drone safety app powered by Altitude Angel. It provides an interactive map of the sky and is used by general aviation, balloon pilots, and other airspace users. It allows you to see areas to avoid or in which extreme caution should be exercised, as well as ground hazards which may pose safety, security or privacy risks when flying your drone.
It also contains a ‘Fly Now’ feature which enables you to share your drone flight location with other app users and the wider drone community, allowing you to avoid other airspace traffic so you can have a safe and enjoyable flight. Drone Assist is available in the App Store and Google Play Store.
Drone Scene– provides drone operators across the UK with an easy-to-use map in order to find and share great places to fly. The map is overlaid with multiple layers of data which allow you to choose both the ground hazards and the air space restrictions for any given area.
The airspace data layers are updated in real time which ensures you have up-to-the-minute information about the safety and legality of any given area, including the latest NOTAMs.
Drone operators can also use Drone Scene to submit planned flight reports to NATS for both recreational and hobbyist flights.
Regulations are constantly changing. It remains the responsibility of any pilot to check for any changes before flying the same location. Drone Scene makes this easy
The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has published a Safety Notice (SN) 2023-005 to the RPAS community regarding manufactures’ in-built Geo-Awareness.
There are airspace limitations that are applicable to operating drones/Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS). The restrictions limit where you can legally fly your drone, they are published in the UK AIP, including restrictions applicable around aerodromes (Flight Restriction Zones) and restrictions applicable around other areas.
Geo-Awareness is a function some manufacturers include on their products. The Geo-Awareness function detects a potential breach of airspace limitations and alerts the remote pilots so that they can take immediate and effective action to prevent that breach.
The purpose of this SN is to highlight that there are currently discrepancies between the accurate airspace restrictions published via the Aeronautical Information Publications (AIP) and how manufacturers display airspace information in their systems.
All RPAS Operators and Remote Pilots are strongly advised to read the attached Safety Notice and act on the recommendations. It is recommended that Specific Category operators implement the recommendations within the SN, as part of their Operating Manual procedures.
The SN 2023-005 strongly recommends that, because airspace restriction information presented by UAS built-in geo-awareness and flight planning software is not always accurate, UAS Operators and RPs should:
- Not rely solely on the manufacturers’ inbuilt geo-awareness/geofencing for airspace restrictions information
- Ensure they are personally aware of applicable airspace restrictions, where they intend to fly
- Regularly refer to the AIP updates for accurate airspace restrictions information
- Monitor and take appropriate action in respect of any manufacturers’ communications regarding geo-awareness updates and operator requirements
The UK CAA has written to a significant RPAS manufacturer to ask them to take note of this SN and correct their inaccuracies. The UK CAA will continue to monitor the situation carefully.