FAA Drone App in Development
Last week, the FAA released into beta testing a smartphone app intended to promote safe flying of drones and compliance with restrictions. Called B4UFLY (“before you fly”), the app uses the location services feature of a user’s smartphone to check for proximity to airports, temporary flight restrictions, current law and other FAA guidance and procedures, then gives the user a clear status to fly. Other features include a planner mode for future flights in different locations, and links to other FAA UAS resources and regulatory information.
For model aircraft flyers who fly within five miles of an airport, the app will feature an electronic notification process to communicate with the air traffic control tower. The test is expected to run several months before being released to the public for IOS and Android devices. Read full press release here. Screen shots of the app can be seen at http://www.faa.gov/uas/b4ufly/.
Update on FAA "333" Commercial Exemptions
On May 15, ConstructionPro Network reported that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had granted approximately 350 “333” exemptions to fly drones for commercial use. On June 26, this number had reached 664 exemptions, and we listed approximately 200 construction and related industry awardees. In the 11 weeks since, the number has more than doubled to 1,439.
Included in the exemption activity since June 26, we recognized 15 construction, engineering or surveying firms - see list below. Nine of these were noted to be in the approval stage in our May 15 report. While the exemptions issued have accelerated, it appears the amount of activity directly by contractors has slowed down.
FAA “333” commercial drone exemptions issued to construction, engineering or surveying firms since June 26:*
Alex E. Paris Contracting Company, Inc.
Burns & McDonnell Engineering Company Inc.
Civil & Environmental Consultants, Inc.
Coastal Science & Engineering Inc.
Curve and Line
Garner Environmental Services, Inc.
Granite Construction Company
Land Grant Surveyors LLC
Monsen Engineering Inc
Padgett Builders LLC
Skanska USA Civil
Top Cat Engineering LLC
Utilis Engineering, PA
* This list is not exhaustive but based on readily identifiable firms.