B4UFLY is an easy-to-use smartphone app that helps unmanned aircraft operators determine whether there are any restrictions or requirements in effect at the location where they want to fly.
Key features include:
- A clear "status" indicator that immediately informs the operator about the current or planned location. For example, it shows flying in the Special Flight Rules Area around Washington, D.C. (No Drone Zone) is prohibited.
- Information on the parameters that drive the status indicator
- A "Planner Mode" for future flights in different locations
- Informative, interactive maps with filtering options
- Links to other FAA UAS resources and regulatory information
B4UFLY App Frequently Asked Questions
Why is the FAA releasing an app?
The FAA is responsible for ensuring the safety of the flying public and people and property on the ground. We believe a key way to help people safely fly unmanned aircraft is to provide situational awareness by letting them know where they should and should not fly and where there might be conflicts. That’s exactly what B4UFLY is designed to do.
This kind of information lends itself well to a smartphone app because people can access the information in real time, wherever they are (or wherever they can receive a cellular signal). We think this offers the best path to voluntary compliance with our regulations, which is what we want to promote.
Is all the information in B4UFLY publicly available?
Yes. B4UFLY pulls its information directly from publicly available FAA data sources and packages the information in a user-friendly and intuitive format.
What is the basis for B4UFLY’s flight status indicator?
The B4UFLY flight status indicator (red, orange, or yellow) is driven by laws and regulations, including Public Law 112-95, Section 336 (the Special Rule for Model Aircraft), FAA airspace regulations, and U.S. National Park Service regulations, among others.
Will B4UFLY pick up Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFRs) over wildfires?
Yes! B4UFLY’s map feature will display any active TFR published on the FAA’s TFR website, http://www.tfr.faa.gov. These will also drive the flight status indicator.
Has the FAA released a version for both Android and iPhone?
Yes! The app is now available in both the App Store and Google Play Store.
Is B4UFLY intended for commercial operators or hobbyists?
B4UFLY is really geared toward users of unmanned aircraft who fly for hobby or recreation. The app parameters are set up in accordance with the Special Rule for Model Aircraft (Section 336) in the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012. However, we expect civil or commercial operators will also find aspects of the app useful, and we will consider future enhancements.
What does the FAA expect to get from B4UFLY?
The FAA is concerned about increasing reports of unsafe operations of unmanned aircraft near airports, over people, and in close proximity to manned aircraft. We hope that B4UFLY will help prevent conflicts between manned and unmanned aircraft and will support the FAA’s primary mission of aviation safety.
Are model airfields included in B4UFLY’s programming?
At the moment, model airfields of established community-based model aircraft organizations are not included. It’s certainly an enhancement we’re open to exploring.
How do I report bugs, problems, or provide feedback?
Please use the “Contact Us” feature in the app.
Is it mandatory to send flight information via B4UFLY?
No, sending flight information via B4UFLY is completely voluntary.
How frequently does the FAA want me to send flight information via B4UFLY?
As frequently as you’d like! Once you send flight information, the function will be disabled until you move more than half a mile away from the location where you last submitted flight information. To receive flight information as accurately as possible, we encourage users to send flight information from the location where they intend to fly.
What if the B4UFLY status indicator is red (flight prohibited) and I still fly?
B4UFLY is intended to provide model aircraft operators with information to make an informed decision about when and where to fly. We expect everyone to fly safely and responsibly. The FAA is responsible for ensuring the safety of the National Airspace System, and we are able to take enforcement action if someone is flying in a manner that endangers the safety of the system.
If the B4UFLY flight status indicator is yellow, does that mean I am authorized to fly by the FAA? A. A yellow flight status indicator means that none of the flight restrictions or requirements programmed in B4UFLY apply to your current flight location. However, other restrictions or requirements may apply. The FAA has included several of these in the “Other Guidance” section under Status, such as flight restrictions over sporting events or around critical infrastructure, but this is not necessarily all encompassing. Additionally, there may be local laws or ordinances about flying unmanned aircraft affecting your intended flight that are not reflected in this app. It is the responsibility of the operator to know the rules and fly safely at all times. People flying unmanned aircraft also need to consider whether the operation can be conducted safely. For example, they should consider whether there are manned aircraft flying nearby, whether the flight is close to other people, and all other safety factors.
Why doesn’t B4UFLY have a green status indicator when there aren’t any restrictions?
It is always an operator’s responsibility to fly safely and responsibly. Sometimes, this may mean NOT flying, even when B4UFLY doesn’t show any restrictions. Therefore, B4UFLY always tells the user to use caution and check other guidance or restrictions. Users should be aware that regardless of B4UFLY’s status indicator, the FAA has the authority to take enforcement action against anyone who flies an unmanned aircraft, including model aircraft, carelessly or recklessly, or in a way that endangers the safety of the National Airspace System or people or property on the ground.
If I send flight information to the FAA using B4UFLY, have I completed the required notification referenced in the app (Section 336)?
No. This information is not being monitored on a real-time basis, but will be used to conduct regular trend analysis. It is also not attributable to the individual who sent it. Users should provide notification to airports and air traffic facilities in the same manner they did prior to using B4UFLY.
If I send flight information to the FAA using B4UFLY, can it be used against me in an enforcement case?
The FAA can take enforcement action against anyone flying carelessly or recklessly, or endangering the safety of the National Airspace System or people and property on the ground. More information is available at: www.faa.gov/uas/model_aircraft.
Why are there so many airports depicted on the B4UFLY map?
The FAA’s airport database includes all airports that meet the regulatory definition of an airport, from the largest commercial hubs to hospital helipads and backyard air strips. It is important for UAS operators to maintain situational awareness of any air traffic that could potentially impact their operations. Currently, B4UFLY considers all of these as “airports” when determining flight status. Several users have submitted feedback indicating B4UFLY may depict airports that no longer exist. We will be sharing this feedback with the staff that maintains our airports database for evaluation.
Why is there a 5-mile radius around all airports?
The Special Rule for Model Aircraft (Section 336 of Public Law 112-95) specifies that “when flown within 5 miles of an airport, the operator of the [model] aircraft provides the airport operator and the airport air traffic control tower (when an air traffic facility is located at the airport) with prior notice of the operation.” This rule applies to operators flying for hobby or recreational purposes only. The FAA has established different operating rules for commercial operations than the parameters set forth in Section 336. These commercial operations are authorized in accordance with Section 333 of Public Law 112-95 and require a certificated pilot to operate a registered UAS. The FAA has performed safety studies to determine whether these operations may be safely performed in closer proximity to airports based on additional operational requirements.
Is ATC and airport contact information included in B4UFLY?
Not at this time, but several users have suggested that B4UFLY provide contact numbers to call the airports and air traffic control towers, and we are considering that request.
Are distances within B4UFLY measured in statute or nautical miles?
The map measures distance in statute miles.
How can I further support this effort?
Use the app! Put it through its paces and send us your feedback! Help us make B4UFLY a more user-friendly and helpful tool to promote safe unmanned aircraft flying.