Apps Every Drone Pilot Needs—AirMap

AirMap logo

Before you fly, you absolutely must check to be sure that you are flying in an area that doesn't have any airspace restrictions. You need to do this every time you fly. It doesn't matter if you're flying in a spot you have flown a hundred times before, there could be a Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) in effect for any number of reasons.

AirMap makes it easy to verify that you are clear to fly. It's available for  both iOS and Android devices. The best part? It's free. Here's a quick look at how it works.

When you launch AirMap it will show your current location on a map. It will also show any controlled airspaces where you will not be able to fly without a waiver from the FAA. If there are any TFRs in effect, those will also show up on the map. The map shown at the left, below is for flying with a Part 107 Certification. One of the big advantages of having your Part 107 (besides being able to get paid for flying) is you don't need to notify smaller airports if you are flying in the area. Tap the "What's Your Mission?" button at the bottom of the screen, select "Fly for Fun" and the map changes dramatically. Each of the areas highlighted in orange is an airport, heliport or Seaplane base. If you are going to fly within any of these areas,  you are required to contact them first.

AirMap screenshot
AirMap screenshot

You can tap on the warning triangle near the bottom of the screen to see a list of the Advisories. Tap on any of the categories and you will get more details. Just remember, these advisories are based on whatever is visible on the map, not your location. As long as the blue dot showing your location is not in one of the restricted areas you are OK to fly.

AirMap screenshot
AirMap screenshot

If you are flying for fun and need to fly within one of the restricted areas, AirMap will provide the phone number of the airport. That's a huge help. Otherwise you would have to go online and search for the particular airport, then sort through the various phone numbers to find the right one to call. Some airports now accept digital notification which you can do right from AirMap. If you are flying commercially with a Part 107 Certification, you will still need to use the FAA website to apply for a waiver in most cases. However, there are some airports that are part of a test to be able to give instant authorization to fly within their airspace. If you are fortunate enough to be near one of these airports, you can submit your authorization request from AirMap. Hopefully, within the next year all major airports in the US will have this capability.

AirMap screenshot
AirMap screenshot