Will Wing’s New Safety App, OpenSky, for Australian Drone Operators Come to the U.S.?
BY Isabella Lee10 July 2019
Most have heard of Wing’s self-flying delivery drone. The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) approved Wing’s autonomous drone to transport goods in Australia and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approved it for beyond visual line-of-sight operations and operations over people in the U.S.
Wing’s delivery service isn’t their only investment in the drone industry. The company is out to do much more than deliver coffee and ice cream across the skies; they also intend to make the skies safer. Their newly launched app, OpenSky, helps drone operators determine where and how to fly safely.
OpenSky is designed for use by both recreational and commercial drone operators. The app will provide information on where and how to fly, tailored to the type of operation.
The app features include:
- Guide for drone flying – Find out where and when you can fly
- CASA Compliance Maps – Access guidance for commercial & recreational drone operators
- Risk Identification – OpenSky will help identify flight hazards
Information about no-fly zones, restricted airspace, and temporary flight restrictions will help drone operators fly with confidence while abiding by local drone laws.
OpenSky is available for download from the iTunes App Store and Google Play. There is also a web-based version of the app. It’s important to note that the OpenSky services are only available in Australia at this time.
CASA adds OpenSky to new Digital RPAS Platform
Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) has approved OpenSky as part of its new Digital RPAS Platform for drone safety apps. The platform replaced CASA’s retired ‘Can I fly There?’ app, and provides drone operators with a range of CASA-approved apps from third-party developers.
To connect to the platform, app developers must go through a robust approval and onboarding process that enables CASA to ensure the proposed app delivers accurate information and meets minimum technical requirements. OpenSky by Wing is the first app to meet the requirements and to be added to the platform.
In the future, CASA plans to expand the Digital RPAS Platform to:
- integrate with the drone registration system
- allow licensed operators to submit flight authorization requests
- automate approvals to operate within 3 NM of a controlled aerodrome, where safe to do so
- provide the building blocks for a future RPA traffic management system.
Will Wing make OpenSky available in Other Countries?
Considering Wing’s partnership and ongoing work with the FAA, we believe OpenSky will likely open up to other locations in the future including the U.S. In fact, Wing states that the development of OpenSky was directly “informed by work with the Federal Aviation Administration and NASA in the U.S.”
Plus, the OpenSky Terms of Service that users must agree to also already include a section on FAA LAANC Authorization:
This section applies only to users operating drones within the United States. Wing is a provider of UAS services within the FAA’s Low-Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC). LAANC may be used to satisfy compliance with ATC authorization. Information provided here is based on real-time and available projected information on airspace status and airport-specific maps, and that information is subject to change. Planning tools should be checked prior to flight for any changes that could impact the operation. Wing provides LAANC services subject to the terms of the FAA’s “Privacy Statement Regarding LAANC and USS Providers Collection of Information in Accordance with 14 CFR Part 107,” which is available here.
—OpenSky Terms of Service
As an approved LAANC service provider, Wing can grant U.S. drone operators near-instant access to fly in controlled airspace if certain conditions are met. Wing’s OpenSky app will likely follow suit from other LAANC service providers who offer airspace authorization through mobile and web apps such as AirMap, Kittyhawk, Skyward, and others.
Share your thoughts on Wing’s new app and the likelihood of OpenSky services expanding to other countries beyond Australia in this thread on our community forum.