DFS drone app launched

26.07.2017.- DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung has launched an app for amateur drone pilots. The app shows where and when you are allowed to fly a drone throughout all of Germany. It also explains the rules, regulations and restrictions that apply to drones in Germany. The app is available as of today and is free of charge. It is compatible with iOS and android operating systems and can be downloaded from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store.

Drones are known in the aviation world as “unmanned aircraft systems” or UAS. These small flying machines have become very popular in a short period of time and users have a lot of fun with them. About 600,000 drones are predicted to be sold in Germany this year alone. By 2020, the number of drones in Germany will likely reach significantly more than one million. This poses a challenge to the aviation community as drones use the same airspace as manned aircraft.

This is why DFS has partnered with the Belgian company Unifly to develop the DFS drone app. The goal of the app is to increase the level of safety in uncontrolled airspace. The app, which is currently only available in German, provides easy and reliable access to comprehensive information via an interactive map about the areas where drones can be used safely and legally as well as the areas where their use is restricted or prohibited. The map clearly shows individual areas or facilities that may not be overflown, or which may only be overflown with restrictions. Such areas and facilities include airports and other protected airspaces, hospitals, industrial and energy facilities, police and military premises, waterways, motorways, railway lines and nature reserves. The applicable rules for these are explained in an additional overview of rules and regulations. The DFS app uses the latest version of the German Aviation Regulation (Luftverkehrsordnung) dated April 2017 as its basis. It also features a logbook function to record past flights.

To use the app, users have to activate location services on their handheld devices such as smartphones or tablets. They also need to register and can do so for more than one device. "As we see it, the new DFS app has three clear advantages. First of all, it is easy to use. Secondly, it doesn't cost anything. DFS wants to ensure safety in air traffic so it is crucial that everyone uses the app. This meant we had to eliminate any barriers that might stop people from using it," explained Klaus-Dieter Scheurle, CEO of DFS at the launch of the app in Berlin.

 "Thirdly, the app reflects the latest German law on drones that was passed in April 2017. It also uses data and maps from official sources. These data are enhanced with additional data from DFS from its daily business of air traffic control. Bundling together these data sources into one application is a practical solution and new in Germany. In short, the DFS app is a way to ensure safety that fits into any pocket," said Scheurle.

"We are pleased to be able to offer a product together with DFS that meets the challenge of safely integrating drones into the existing air traffic system in a practical and effective way. We plan to continue to develop the app and will soon introduce updates and further functions," remarked the CEO of Unifly, Marc Kegelaers.

Photo: dfs drone app (JPG, Source: Ellen Malfliet, unifly/DFS)

Download: dfs drone app


DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH
, the German air navigation service provider, is a State-owned company under private law with 5,430 employees as at 30 June 2017. DFS ensures the safe and punctual flow of air traffic over Germany. Around 2,000 air traffic controllers guide up to 10,000 flights in German airspace every day, about three million movements every year. This makes Germany the country with the highest traffic volume in Europe. The company operates control centres in Langen, Bremen, Karlsruhe and Munich as well as control towers at 16 international airports in Germany. The subsidiary, DFS Aviation Services GmbH, markets and sells products and services related to air navigation services as well as providing air traffic control at nine regional airports in Germany and at London Gatwick Airport in the UK.

Unifly, based in Antwerp, Belgium, is a spin-off company of VITO (Flemish institute for technological research) specialised in aviation software development. Unifly is a world leader in UTM (unmanned aircraft system traffic management). The focus of Unifly's activities is always on safety for all stakeholders involved. Unifly's innovative tools inform remote pilots about where it is safe and legal to fly their drones and enable authorities and other aviation stakeholders to track drone traffic and manage the airspace.