by DRONELIFE Staff Writer Ian Crosby
This June, the United States saw the launch of Wing’s free drone pilot app, OpenSky, helping drone operators of all kinds safely share the sky. Since then, the app has already seen tens of thousands of users, ranging from the likes of professional photographers to surveyors to hobby flyers, all using the app to learn where they can safely fly their drones and to request authorization to fly in controlled airspace.
Today, Wing announced two new updates to the app, made possible by a new version of the FAA’s Low Altitude Authorization and Notification (LAANC) program. This new version of LAANC includes a number of improvements and refinements that make drone flyer apps like OpenSky more helpful for users.
The first of the two updates will open up new airspace that was previously unavailable to flyers. This will be done by refining the airspace grids used in the app. With smaller and more precise quarter-mile grid proportions, restrictions can be targeted more specifically to where they are needed. Because altitude and authorization limits are defined for an entire grid, these smaller grids will allow for more flexibility in how restrictions are defined. Prior to this new update, a limit in one part of an approximately one-square mile grid would prevent flyers from operating within the entirety of the grid.
The second update comes in response to users requesting an easier means of obtaining night time approvals in LAANC. In partnership with the FAA, this new update will enable Part 107 flyers to request near real-time authorization to fly at night, directly through the OpenSky app.
DRONELIFE previously reported on OpenSky’s initial U.S. launch, detailing the mission statement behind the app and the decision to make the app widely available to the public for free. DRONELIFE’s previous article can be found here
Ian attended Dominican University of California, where he received a BA in English in 2019. With a lifelong passion for writing and storytelling and a keen interest in technology, he is now contributing to DroneLife as a staff writer.