Christina Cardoza

Mar 29, 2016 3:35:05 PM

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The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recently reported that too many drones are still getting too close to airports, but a newly announced system aims to change that. AirMap, in coordination with the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE), announced the launch of the Digital Notice and Awareness System (D-NAS). D-NAS is designed to enable safer UAS flights by allowing operators to inform airports with real-time digital information about the location of their flights.

“Everyone involved in aviation sees the promise and potential of unmanned aircraft,” said Ben Marcus, CEO of AirMap. “However, we can't reach the potential of this amazing technology unless we ensure that safety-critical information keeps pace with innovation. We are focused on building the tools for unmanned aircraft to safely integrate into the national airspace system.”

The solution sends an encrypted digital flight notice to a secure dashboard at an airport’s operation center. Participating airports will be able to access the information through AirMap’s D-NAS dashboard, which will provide a map view of flights in proximity to the airport and the option to contact the drone operator directly. DJI, Yuneec and 3D Robotics will provide D-NAS through their UAS interfaces.

"Safety has always been a priority for DJI," said Brendan Schulman, vice president of policy and legal affairs at DJI. "Providing our customers the capability to easily notify nearby airports of their flights is a huge step forward in convenience and functionality. A high-tech notification system complements the safety features DJI builds into every drone, as well as DJI's close work with policymakers on practical approaches for drone technology."

More than 50 airports have already joined the D-NAS pilot program, including Houston's George Bush Intercontinental and William P. Hobby airports; Denver International Airport; Columbus Air Force Base in Mississippi; Charlotte Douglas Airport in North Carolina; Reno-Tahoe International Airport in Nevada; New Castle Airport in Delaware; Cape May Airport in New Jersey; Fairbanks International Airport in Alaska; and the Oxnard and Camarillo Airports in California.

"Participation in the D-NAS pilot was a no-brainer for us," said Steve Runge, division manager for the Houston Airport System. “In the face of growing concerns over UAS operations near airports, AirMap has developed an effective and unique solution. D-NAS is a game-changer for how we will manage low altitude air safety."

D-NAS is also designed to help drone operators comply with Section 336 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, which requires operators give advanced notice to airports within five miles of their drone’s flight location.

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