DFS launches free app to support safe drone flights

Berlin, July 26, 2017 - With the "DFS-DrohnenApp", German aviation authority DFS is launching a new app for hobby drones pilots that shows users where they can fly their drone at any time and any location in Germany. It also provides comprehensive information on the applicable rules, regulations and restrictions. The free app is available for both iOS and Android devices in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

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Drones, as UAS (unmanned aircraft systems) are often called, are popular and fun. Around 600,000 drones are expected to be sold in Germany alone this year. By 2020, the number of drones will rise to well over one million. This presents new challenges to aviation, as drones use the same airspace as manned aircraft.

This is why DFS, together with its Belgian technology partner Unifly, has developed the "DFS drones app" to increase safety in uncontrolled airspace. The German speaking app provides drone pilots with an interactive map for each location in a simple, comprehensive and reliable manner, showing in which areas drones can safely and legally take off and where restrictions and prohibitions exist. Areas and facilities that are not allowed to be flown over, or only to a limited extent, are displayed clearly and individually. Besides obvious location such as airfields and other protected airspaces, this includes hospitals, industrial and energy installations, police and military facilities as well as waterways and highways, railways and nature reserves. The applicable regulations are explained in detail in an additional rule overview. The DFS app takes the new air traffic regulations (Drones Ordinance) of April 2017 into account. The app also provides the user with a logbook showing an overview of his past flights.

To use the app it is necessary to register the user and to activate GPS location services on the smartphone or tablet. Users can specify several devices. "From our point of view, the new DFS drone app has three main advantages. First of all it is user-friendly and easy to use. Secondly, it is free. DFS wants to contribute to safety in air transport. Because it is important to us that everyone uses the app, we wanted to ensure any barriers to use it are eliminated as much as possible ", explained Prof. Scheurle, chairman of the DFS management at the presentation of the app in Berlin. "Thirdly, the DFS app implements the provisions of the new Duma Ordinance of the Federal Government as far as possible. The app uses information as well as map material from official sources. These are enriched with data from DFS that is used in the day-to-day air traffic control business. The bundling of these data sources into a single application is both practical and new in this form in Germany. In short: the DFS drone app is a piece of security that fits into every pocket, " emphasized Prof. Scheurle.

"We are delighted to be able to offer a product together with DFS that offers a viable and effective solution to the challenge of the safe integration of drones into air traffic. The further development of the app is provided. We will soon be introducing new updates with additional features, "said Unifly CEO Marc Kegelaers.

DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH is a federally owned, privately owned company with around 5,550 employees (as of December 31, 2016). The DFS ensures a safe and punctual flight. Approximately 2,000 air traffic controllers control up to 10,000 flights daily in German airspace, around three million flights each year. Germany is thus the most traveled country in Europe. The company operates control centers in Langen, Bremen, Karlsruhe and Munich as well as control towers at the 16 international airports in Germany. Air navigation services and consultancy services are provided by the subsidiary DFS Aviation Services GmbH (DAS). 

Unifly, headquartered in Antwerp, Belgium, is a subsidiary of VITO (Flemish Institute for Technology Research), and develops software for the air transport sector since August 2015. Unifly is a world leader in the field of unmanned traffic management. The focus is at all times on the safety of all traffic users. Innovative tools inform drone pilots where they can fly safely and legally, and allow licensing authorities and other organizations to manage their airspace.

 For more information, please visit www.sicherer-drohnenflug.de.