In 2016, the Federal Aviation Administration released the B4UFly app, which was intended to help remote pilots plan flights and operate safely in the National Airspace System. The app was a big step in helping remote pilots gain a better understanding of the airspace they were flying in and applicable restrictions. While the app was intended to make life easier for remote pilots, it left much to be desired.
On February 27, 2019, the FAA announced it is going to overhaul the B4UFly app with assistance from private company and LAANC service supplier, Kittyhawk. According to their website, Kittyhawk is a platform that monitors drone flights to unify the mission, aircraft, and data to make drone operations safe and reliable.
Acting FAA Administrator Dan Elwell said, “We want to provide drone pilots with the best tools possible so they fly safely and responsibly. As drone sales increase and our nation’s airspace becomes busier and more complex, it’s vital that we work smarter and partner with the private sector to develop innovative products that advance safety.”
The official release date has not yet been set, but the FAA expects the new app to be available before the end of 2019. In the meantime, there will be no additional updates to the current B4UFly app. Despite the inadequacies, the current B4UFly app is still a useful tool. It is available for free in the App Store for iOS and Google Play store for Android.
The app will help you identify particular airports and Notices to Airmen (NOTAMs) that may affect your flight. But in order to become a safer, more competent remote pilot, Gleim Chief Instructor Paul Duty reminds unmanned aircraft operators that they must become an FAA-certified remote pilot if they are flying for any reason other than hobby or recreation. Passing a knowledge test is a requirement to become a remote pilot. “Many people are surprised at the types of subjects that one must learn to pass the test. They feel like most of the topics won’t ever apply to them,” Duty said. “But you are sharing an airspace system with other manned aircraft and need to understand how they operate and where they fly in order to not become a hazard.”
Gleim Aviation offers remote pilot training to help you earn your initial certification. Thousands of people have already become remote pilots using the Gleim FAA Test Prep Online. New candidates are starting every day. For seasoned remote pilots, there is a recurrent training and testing requirement. While there are some similarities with the initial certification test, there are also quite a few differences emphasized in specific areas. The Gleim remote pilot refresher training is structured to ensure that remote pilots are not only well-prepared to pass the refresher knowledge test but also stay current on operational requirements and vital updates.
Learn more about Kittyhawk, the FAA partner helping to rebuild the B4UFLY app.
Written by Callie Wilkes, Gleim Aviation Marketing & STEM Coordinator