Earlier this year, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) partnered with leading UAS Service Supplier Kittyhawk to give the government agency a much-needed overhaul to its B4UFly app. Launched in 2016, it has been used over 70,000 times. However, complaints of an antiquated user interface and difficult-to-interpret guidelines plagued the app from the very beginning.

Months of diligent work have finally come to fruition as Kittyhawk and the FAA just announced the new-and-improved version of B4UFly, free to download on both iOS and Android. ’B4UFLY is a hallmark of our commitment to ensuring drones are safely integrated into the NAS. Our partnership on B4UFLY with Kittyhawk represents the kind of public-private partnership that is essential to advance this burgeoning industry. As the skies become more crowded and UAS operations become more complex, basic airspace situational awareness, especially for the newest of fliers, will be essential,’ said Jay Merkle, Executive Director of the FAA’s UAS Integration Office.

‘As the skies become more crowded and UAS operations become more complex, basic airspace situational awareness, especially for the newest of fliers, will be essential.’

This release couldn’t have come at a better time. Last week, recreational pilots were granted access to Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) giving them near real-time approval to controlled airspace. B4UFly leverages Kittyhawk’s patented airspace controller for managing real-time flight restrictions, authorizations, and guidance. It also takes advantage of the FAA’s data sources for controlled airspace, special use airspace, critical infrastructure, airports, national parks, military training routes, and temporary flight restrictions.

Based on location, B4UFly offers up straightforward guidance in the form of easy-to-interpret prompts such as ‘Good to Go,’ ‘Warning’ and ‘Do Not Fly.’ Educational guides, safety resources, and, of course, access to LAANC can also be found in the app. Plans for future improvement and usability include new capabilities for Remote ID and weather plus additional data layers for uses in public safety, natural disasters, and emergency response. As Kittyhawk’s founder and CEO, Jon Hegranes, puts it, ’While the Wright brothers had a vast and soft landing area, drone pilots face sometimes complex rules and restrictions that can change quickly. Our goal with B4UFLY is to make knowing when and how you should fly simple, quick, and reliable.’