How To Unlock DJI Drone Close To an Airport
Married In The Summer
With our drones ready to fly we got down to business and captured some fantastic footage of the couples day. We did have one panic moment when the B&G moved to the keep early requiring us to fly within a few minutes notice. With a quick call to Edinburgh ATC and unpacking the Mavic 2 Pro we were up in the air in under three minutes – Incredible!
Last year we covered drone aerials for a wedding close to Edinburgh airport. At the time all that was required was to acknowledge the risk of flying inside Class D airspace by clicking the check box. Drone rules updated in late 2018 extended the ATZ areas around most UK airports. Checking our venue against the new geo zones in 2019 via the NATS Drone Assist App we found we were now inside and unable to fly a DJI drone without strict authorisation.
We knew this could be unlocked in a three part process. The most difficult part for weather dependent drone operations is picking a day up to 72hrs in advance. Since it was a set wedding date we would be there regardless of the weather so we began the process.
Step 1: ATC Permission
Not all UK airports and aerodromes are created equal. A simple call to Edinburgh airport confirmed we needed to file our intention to fly within the edge of the ATZ. We needed to submit the date, positions, height and area we intended to fly with airnavigationsolutions.co.uk. Luckily there was no charge for this. UK PFCO’s pay enough already! Three days later we received our approval shown bellow:
ATC Permission for Operation of Small Unmanned Aircraft (SUA) in Edinburgh Airport Restricted Airspace
In accordance with Article 94B of the Air Navigation Order, ATC permission is granted for SUA operation at Dundas Castle with the following conditions:
1. This permission applies to SUAs are flown in accordance with Air Navigation Order.
2. This permission is granted for SUA flown by Sky Tech Ltd (CAA PfCO 3848).
3. OPERATING RESTRICTIONS
4.1 Maximum operating height is 400ft AGL
4.2 SUA operations must be contained within boundaries of Dundas Castle and Golf Course.
4.3 SUA must be flown in direct line of sight of the pilot or in first person view (FPV). FPV flights require a competent observer.
5.1 The SUA operator must provide Edinburgh Airport ATC with not less 15 minutes notice prior to the commencement of the each flying period.
5.2 The SUA operator must will advise Edinburgh Airport ATC that flying has ceased at the end of each flying period.
SUA Request – Dundas Castle 02 Aug 19 Chart showing Dundas Castle boundary
5.3 Contact number for Edinburgh Airport ATC is 0131 333 6234.
6. URGENT “DRONE STOP” PROCEDURE
The SUA operator must provide Edinburgh Airport ATC with a contact number for use if ATC
require SUA operations to stop immediately:
THIS IS EDINBURGH ATC – DRONE STOP, I SAY AGAIN, DRONE STOP
The SUA operator must confirm the instruction by replying “DRONE STOP ACKNOWLEDGED” and cease flying as soon as safely possible. The pilot must wait at least 30 minutes before requesting resumption of flying.
8. LOSS OF CONTROL – “FLYAWAY” PROCEDURE
In the event that loss of control leads to an SUA flying towards Edinburgh Airport, the SUA operator must IMMEDIATELY inform Edinburgh Airport ATC on 0131 333 6234:
THIS IS SKY TECH AT DUNDAS CASTLE – FLYAWAY, I SAY AGAIN, FLYAWAY, SUA LAST SEEN HEADING <direction> – ESTIMATED DURATION <time> MINUTES”
This permission is valid on 2nd August 2019.
9. WITHDRAWAL OF PERMISSION
9.1 This permission may be withdrawn by Edinburgh Airport ATC for safety reasons
9.2 This permission may be cancelled by Edinburgh Airport ATC for other reasons
following discussion with the SUA operator. 10. SHARING OF INFORMATION
It is a condition of this permission that the SUA operator agrees to Air Navigation Solutions Ltd
sharing of this permission with Police Scotland and Edinburgh Airport Ltd. 11. LIAISON WITH POLICE SCOTLAND
It is the SUA operator’s responsibility to ensure that the SUA operation complies with all applicable laws, not just the Air Navigation Order. SUA operators are advised to independently inform Police Scotland of their planned activity.
Please confirm receipt and agreement by reply.
Tower Operations Manager Edinburgh
Step 2: DJI Fly Safe Authorisation
The next step was to unlock our two DJI drones, the Inspire 2 and Mavic 2 Pro. To do this we submitted our information and SUA approval document on the dji flysafe website. Before we started we also needed the serial numbers of our drones. We received approval within an hour.
Step 3: Geo Unlock
Finally each aircraft needs to be powered on and DJI Go opened. Going into general settings > Unlock. After syncronising the approved location should show and can be unlocked with the toggle button.