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More than 50 U.S. airports will test a new system to make themselves more aware of drones flying near their runways. Airport executives and the drone industry expect the Digital Notice and Awareness System (D-NAS) to improve safety amid concerns raised by 764 drone sightings near airplanes in 2015.

More than 50 U.S. airports will test a new system to make themselves more aware of drones flying near their runways. Drone hobbyists are required to notify airports of their plans when flying within five miles of an airport, but doing so has been a difficult process. In some cases no one is even available to speak to at an airport.

Drone operators using D-NAS will input the radius of their flight and how long they intend to fly using apps from drone manufacturers such as DJI, 3DRobotics and Yuneec, or the websites AirMap and some airports. This information will then be sent to operations staff and air traffic control at participating airports. By sending information this way, drone operators will be able to more easily notify these airports of their flight plans.

Ben Marcus, chief executive of AirMap, the start-up behind D-NAS, said that it had received near-unanimous interest from airports. There is no charge for drone hobbyists to use the system. “Our main goal is to enable the future of drones,” Marcus said. “We realize there are many elements, some of which are technology, which will have to be invented in order to facilitate that future.”

This is the first that I have heard of this approach. It certainly raises a lot of questions. Starting with when did this get in the works and will use be mandated by the FAA.
But the real question is “then what…” Let’s say that there a couple of drones out for a nice afternoon near ABQ Sunport. They’ve checked in and their tracks are up on a screen somewhere being monitored by someone (never mind who and what screen.) Now inbound Southwest heavy niner niner two enters the pattern. And lo and behold there off to the port side is – wait for it – a drone.
Pilot calls to the tower and the tower – yep you guessed it – the tower doesn’t have that drone (and the delay is what) because he or she hasn’t used D-NAS. So now we are right back where we are. Which is good but not necessarily progress.
It is now in beta by invitation and even appears to work with an Apple Watch. Here is is on the iTunes Store. But you need the password.
Seems like there could be a way further to go on this one.

read more at washingtonpost.com

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