What is Airspace and How to Check For Airspace Restrictions


Airspace and your responsibility

No matter where you fly your drone, you should know and understand the local airspace, its restrictions, and the legal governing authority. 

Aircraft can unexpectedly and quickly enter the airspace you’re using. Any incident is the drone pilot's fault. In the United States, airspace violations and incidents may result in over $25,000 in fines and jail time. 

Fly responsibly. It is your responsibility as the Pilot-in--command to know the legal status of the airspace where you are flying. No insurance or company umbrella will shield you from your actions as a remote pilot. 

It is also your responsibility to seek out and stay updated on changes to airspace regulations in your country.

United States

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) administers airspace regulations in the United States.  Part 107 of the Code of Federal Regulations dictates how the FAA handles Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (or drones) in US airspace. 

To legally fly your drone for commercial use, you must acquire a Remote Pilot Certificate as defined under Part 107. This certificate is valid for 24 months, after which you must renew it to remain current and keep your commercial flights legal. You must also register your drone with the FAA. Registration is handled through the FAA DroneZone website

Don’t have your 107 yet? Propeller’s partner, Drone Pilot Ground School, offers a discount to Propeller customers on their test preparation training course.

Australia

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) governs Australian airspace and rules for commercial drone operations. You are responsible for seeking out and staying updated on changes to airspace regulations in your country.

European Union

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) governs airspace and rules for drone operations in the European Union. You are responsible for seeking out and staying updated on changes to airspace regulations in your country.

How to check for airspace restrictions

As a best practice, investigate the airspace restrictions at your site before you arrive. If you need to perform an unlock, you can do that beforehand.

If you fly a DJI drone, always check the DJI Fly Safe web application before you go onsite to fly a survey. 

The Fly Safe database does not always have all the necessary information, such as airspace ceilings and legal airspace classifications. Therefore, we recommend checking a second resource so you are aware of any possible airspace restrictions and warnings.

Additional resources

OpenSky

The OpenSky web application is Civil Aviation Safety Authority-verified for use in Australia. It provides information on the type of airspace restriction. Be sure to select Commercial Excluded as the filter. 

Aloft

The Aloft application (available on the web) makes acquiring a LAANC authorization straightforward.

Other

You can use other paid software platforms to check airspace restrictions and even manage your drone(s). These platforms include Kittyhawk and Skyward, which may be more useful in certain situations, especially if you have a large drone fleet or need to keep detailed flight logs.

Checking for airspace restrictions before arriving on-site is a good practice to integrate into your mission planning. You'll proactively catch potential issues so you're better prepared when you fly. 


I still can't do it! 

We wrote these articles to equip you with everything you need to get the job done on your own, but we understand that sometimes this isn't sufficient.

If you're stuck, the Propeller hardware support team may be able to help. You can contact our support team by emailing hardwaresupport@propelleraero.com.au.