Must Have Apps and Websites for Drone Pilots That Address Common Paint Points
Along with reliable hardware, drone pilots also need to rely on mobile apps and websites to ensure safe and efficient drone operations.
There are a variety of apps available in the market today — each aiming to solve some common paint points. We have outlined some apps and websites that we rank among the best in the industry.
Skyward.io and Airmap are some popular apps for determining where you can fly and where you cannot fly. We recommend Skyward over Airmap because it is far easier to use. You can even learn the altitude at which you can fly.
Skyward maps are really easy to read. Just refer the legend to learn how you can navigate through the map. For instance,
· Solid Borders represent regulatory requirements
· Dashed Borders represent Skyward recommendations
· Red airspace is off limits and
· Yellow airspace is a high traffic airspace and so on…
If you need to file for instant authorization, you can also do so in Skyward.io
Skyvector is another website that can be of immense help to drone pilots. Skyvector contains sectional maps. It is important to know how to read sectionals in order to know exactly where to fly and where not to fly.
For checking weather, we strongly recommend Accuweather. Do not forget to check out Dew point spread. If Dew point is less than 5 degrees, you will have excessive moisture build up on the props. So simply avoid flying. You can also know the sunset and sunrise time. The only thing that Accuweather does not tell you is the KP index — which brings us to our next app, Hover.
All drone pilots that we know strongly recommend Hover. Hover is a great app that draws its data from Airmap. Apart from checking weather, you can also determine No Fly Zones and store your flight logs. Hover is particularly useful for checking the KP index.
KP index measures geomagnetic disruption on a scale of 0 to 9. With 0 being calm and 9 being most disruptive. A KP index of 1–4 is considered totally safe for drone operations. Beyond 4, as your KP index goes up, your linkage to satellites drops. So at a KP index of 7, you will roughly lose a third of your satellites. And you can imagine the impact on your drone operations — in the worst scenario a high KP index will result in a Flyaway.
Schedudrone is a great app that takes cares of your business processes which allows you to FOCUS on your flying. For starters, using Schedudrone allows you to store all your contact information in one place — this dashboard like feature will save you valuable time by keeping all your business information organized. Apart from this, features such as price estimation, invoicing and contract generation are under development and shall be introduced shortly.
How do you check for TFR’s? Go to tfr.faa.gov
TFR’s or temporary flight restrictions places restriction on an area in airspace. TFR’s are normally triggered due to public events or VIP movement. So public events would include airshows, the Superbowl or maybe a political conference. If there is a public gathering of 30,000 people or more, you can normally expect a TFR. We highly recommend going to the original source. If there is a glitch in any of the other secondary websites, you could be in serious trouble.
Pro Tip — Sometimes, due to a glitch in your DJI app, you could encounter a Ghost TFR. A ghost TFR is a TFR which should not be there. You can of course, contact DJI support and ask them to deal with the issue. But this can take a while. If you wish to learn how to remove Ghost TFR, you can check out, “Get more from your DJI drone by removing firmware limitations”.
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