App to help drone pilots comply with UK rules

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DRONES being flown near airports has become an increasing problem but it’s one that a new app from air traffic control firm Nats is hoping to solve.

Nats, which is based in Swanwick and Whiteley, says there has been an increase in reports of near-misses between drones and aircraft during the past year, causing disruption to air traffic and risking a major incident.

New app Drone Assist, which is available for free on Android and iOS, gives drone pilots an interactive map of areas of airspace used by commercial air traffic.

The app has been developed in partnership with Altitude Angel, a traffic management solution firm, and also includes the location of ground-based hazards that might pose a safety or privacy risk, such as power lines.

Phil Binks, Nats drone lead, said: ‘Drone Assist is designed to help everyone abide by the rules, identify areas of controlled and restricted airspace and help them enjoy flying whilst ensuring their safety and the safety of other airspace users.’