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Skyward User Guide

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Skyward Frequently Asked Questions

Getting Started & Using Skyward

What is Skyward?
Skyward provides an operational platform and support for business managers and drone pilots who use drones commercially. We are the first company to integrate a drone airspace map with ops management software, as well as custom support from a team of experts. Skyward is the one solution a business or enterprise needs to safely and efficiently manage their operations. Whether you’ve got one drone or a hundred, Skyward can get you out of the office and into the air.
How can Skyward help me operate my drone business?
Our goal is to give all of our customers access to the tools and information they need to run safe, efficient operations and meet regulatory requirements. Our Professional Services team, which has helped dozens of customers build professional-grade drone programs in multiple jurisdictions, can assist you with all of your operational and regulatory needs. From developing standard operating procedures and manuals to applying for a 333 exemption or SFOC, you can count on expert support from the team at Skyward. We also provide access to our wide network of best-in-class partners for insurance, UAS selection, training, maintenance, software for imagery analytics, and everything else you might need to support your growing business.
How do I get started?
If you just signed up with Skyward, welcome! The best way to begin using Skyward is to plan your first operation. When you first sign in to the app, you will see a Welcome to Skyward section that provides some instructions. Click the Open the map and get started button to see the airspace and begin drawing a flight area. This user guide provides step-by-step instructions.
Which operating systems does Skyward run on?
Skyward is a cloud-based platform that runs on your browser. Currently, we support Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer, and Edge. However, Safari currently is not compatible with the monthly activity and pilot activity report functions.
Why do I see an error message when I try to reset my password?
Occasionally when resetting your password in Skyward, the error message persists when you go to enter your brand-new password. However, you should be able to click Sign In and gain access—even if the error message still displays.
How do I get back to my Dashboard?
Clicking the Skyward logo will take you to your organization’s Dashboard view. The Dashboard is your Skyward account’s homepage and where you can see an organization at a glance.
How do I invite another person to my Skyward organization?
When you create an organization, you are automatically assigned the role of pilot. To add another person to your organization, go to Manage > Personnel, click on Invite Personnel, add the person’s name and email, assign the appropriate roles, and click Send Invitation.

Dashboard & General

What is displayed in Recent Activity on my Dashboard?
Recent Activity displays the three soonest upcoming operations and the three most recent operations (based upon start dates and times). The map area to the right displays the flight area for the most recent operation if one was used. Otherwise the map displays your current location. If you do not allow your browser to know your location, then the map defaults to Skyward HQ—we’re very proud of Portland.
What are Custom Fields?
Custom Fields give you the flexibility to create and assign the information that you want to track for your business. Every Custom Field has a label and a value, designated by you. Once you create a Custom Field, you can select it again in the future. For records of flights, batteries, drones, and personnel, Custom Fields can help you organize information to help with operational and compliance reporting. Read this blog post to learn more about Custom Fields.
How are pilot and drone hours tracked?
Drone hours are tracked in the organization that is currently selected. But pilot hours are tracked across every organization of which a pilot is a member. So if you’re a contract or freelance pilot who is a member of multiple organization, all your flights “count” toward your displayed total.
How can I access pilot and drone hours?
You can see the drone hours logged within an organization on your Dashboard or by navigating to Manage > Drones. You can see the hours each pilot has logged in several places: on the Dashboard, by navigating to Manage > Personnel, or by viewing an individual’s personnel page.
How can I add historic pilot hours to my records?
Navigate to an individual’s Personnel page and select Edit to the right of the person’s name. Add a pilot’s previous flight hours (not logged in Skyward) to the Historical Pilot Hours field. Note: If a pilot is a member of multiple Skyward organizations, that person’s flight hours accrue across every organization.

Regulatory

Can I fly using the updated Civil COA?
Yes.
Can I fly with any machine on the approved list?
If you have a 333 Exemption, the FAA’s new list of approved UAVs most likely applies to you. Remember to register every UAV you fly with the FAA online. (Consult this article for specifics.) If you want to fly a UAV that’s not included on the list, Skyward provides all subscribers free exemption templates to simplify the process of adding to your fleet—email us at support@skyward.io.
Do you automatically file a NOTAM on my behalf each time I plan a new flight? Or only when my planned flight is within a specific type of airspace?
If you are a Skyward Professional Plus, we will file NOTAMs for U.S. flights on your behalf. Once you have planned a complete operation, including flight areas, the Submit NOTAM button will appear to the right of your operation’s name. Press the button and we’ll send you the confirmation number when it’s been approved. If you have a Skyward Professional, Start-Up, or Basic subscription, you will need to submit your own NOTAMs with your country’s airspace authority. Remember to have your stop and start dates and times, the nearest Navaid, and the coordinates of the planned operation.
I want to check on the status of my 333 petition. I have a docket number. How do I check the status?
The time frame for 333 petitions varies widely. You can check the status of your petition by going to this FAA site and entering your docket number.
Do I just to call the local air traffic control if I want to fly within 5 nm of a U.S. airport?
Flying within 5 nm of a U.S. airport with a traffic control tower is not allowed by the Section 333 Blanket COA. For commercial flights within 5 nm of an airport, apply to the FAA for a Civil COA for the exact location that you want to fly. Use the FAA’s Civil COA website to apply. For flights within 5 nm of airports or aerodromes in other countries, check the terms of your regulatory authorization—you may or may not be allowed to fly there. Recreational pilots are not allowed to fly in controlled airspace.

Insurance

What kind of insurance discounts can I expect if I use Skyward?
Skyward doesn’t sell, broker, or underwrite insurance. However, UAV insurance carriers and brokers are familiar with the Skyward platform and its focus on proven UAV program policies and operating procedures, as well as a system for managing and documenting drones, pilots, training, maintenance, and flights. Ask your insurance broker about rates. In the meantime, this checklist will help you determine whether you’re following the necessary steps that will qualify you for better rates and coverage on UAV insurance.

Map

Why won't my map load any images?
You must allow your browser to share its GPS location with Skyward.
Where does the data in the Airspace Map data come from? How is it validated?
All of our data comes from verified sources. In some countries, such as the United States, the FAA provides this data. In other jurisdictions, we work directly with the regulator or a data provider approved by the regulator. Very little drone-specific data exists, so we analyze all of the data to remove extraneous information and insert any missing data. We have a comprehensive testing process in which our analysts validate the airspace using a variety of checklists. For example, we check every major airport in the United States against the FAA’s official maps. Next, we have a variety of analysis scripts that look for inconsistencies or issues. Finally, we work with the data source provider to correct any issues that we have identified.
Many maps for drones only depict rules for recreational UAV pilots. That’s because there are often different regulations governing commercial operators than hobbyists. The Skyward Airspace Map includes a recreational layer, but is primarily a tool for commercial pilots and operations directors. It also filters out airspace that is above where most drones are currently allowed to fly. Our airspace data is thoroughly reviewed by aviation experts prior to being released to our map (to date we have identified 21 incorrect airspace geometries, fixed them, and communicated those fixes to the airspace regulator). 
Does Skyward have Canadian airspace?
Yes! Several Canadian businesses were among our first subscribers. Skyward depicts Canadian airspace, as well as airspace for the entire world. Here is a user guide to Canadian airspace within the Skyward Airspace Map.
Does Skyward depict international airspace?
Yes, the Skyward Airspace Map displays validated drone airspace data for the entire world.
Does the Skyward Airspace Map show temporary flight restrictions? How frequently are they updated? Where do you get this information?
Yes, Skyward depicts temporary flight restrictions. Like every airspace map, Skyward receives information from the airspace regulator in a given jurisdiction. Skyward sources temporary flight restrictions in the U.S. directly from FAA NOTAMs, the only source approved for flight planning. The Skyward drone airspace map updates flight restrictions every 5 minutes.
Why are your restricted areas different from other maps?
We currently use the term “restricted” to cover airspace where legal drone use may be very difficult or impossible to obtain, for example, over military bases or national security areas designated by the regulator.

Plans

What happens after the free trial period ends?
Each of the paid Skyward account includes a two-week free trial period. At the end of your free trial, you have the option to continue your account or contact us to cancel. We offer three options:

  1. Pilot – Free access to Skyward’s drone airspace map and flight area tools.
  2. Business – Full access to Skyward’s drone ops management platform for one team of 12 or fewer members, including monthly reporting, NOTAM filing (U.S. customers only), VFR sectional layer, Pilot Finder, Business Essentials Toolkit, designated account manager, custom onboarding, and live, online, and email support.
  3. Enterprise – For sophisticated operations and big companies with multiple teams, including different business units, divisions, contract teams, and employees. You’ll have access to Skyward’s drone airspace map, flight area tools, flight planning tools, plus the ability to manage your drones, batteries, personnel, and documents. Includes Skyward’s Take Flight package (200+ pages of standard operating procedures—a value of $3,000. Contact us for custom pricing.

For more information about our plans, visit skyward.io/pricing. If you still have questions about which plan is right for you, contact us.

My free trial has ended. Will I still have access to all of the flights I logged during my trial?
Yes, absolutely. All the information will be in the organization that you created. When you log back in, make sure to log in to the organization that you saved all your information to.
How do I upgrade my plan?
If you would like to make any changes to your plan, follow the orange “Upgrade” button on your homepage. If you need further assistance, simply contact us and we’ll help you out.
What happens if a business runs more than 100 flights per month? Will the organization be capped at 100 flights for the month or is there some way to log additional flights if business is really booming?
Don’t worry—Skyward won’t cut you off if you exceed your monthly flights. We’ll be in touch to discuss your plan options.
How do I update my billing information?
Simply contact us and we can help you update your information.
How can I cancel my plan?
We’d hate to see you go! However, if you would like to downgrade or cancel your plan, simply contact us and we’ll help you out.

Operations Planning & Logging

What is a flight area?
A flight area is an area that you draw on the Skyward Airspace Map. It includes the boundaries of your flight, points of interest, and hazards. You can create a flight area by using the drawing tools in the map and giving your area a name. Then, you can add markers for points of interest or hazards. Flight areas are an integral part of ops planning and a key element for your flight records, including regulatory compliance.
Why do I need to plan a flight operation before I get on site?
Planning a flight in advance has several major advantages:Safety: By planning your operations in advance, you’ll know if you’re allowed to fly in that area or if you need to obtain regulatory permission. You’ll see if the area is in a highly populated area that will require crowd control, or if it’s next to significant hazards, such as power lines or a freeway.Efficiency: By planning a flight in advance, you’ll eliminate confusion among your field crew once they’re on site. They’ll know exactly where they need to fly, the data they need to gather, the hazards they need to avoid, and the equipment and batteries they’ll use for the job.Scheduling: Most commercial UAV operations require more than a pilot and an observer. You may also need a project manager, foreman, surveyor, camera operator, security or traffic control crew, and external stakeholders. Planning a flight in advance allows you to coordinate with all of your flight participants.
What's the difference between 'Save' and 'Done' in my flight operation?
If more than one user is editing and saving the operation at the same time only the most recent edits will be saved. To avoid loss of data, ensure that only one user is editing an operation or flight at a time. Clicking ‘Done’ will update the operation to the most current changes.
Will my hazards and points of interest markers be visible to other Skyward users?
The hazards and points of interest you add to your saved flight areas are visible to your colleagues within your organization. They are not visible to the wider Skyward community.

Flights

What's the difference between Planning a Flight and Logging a Flight?
The Plan Flight process is designed for planning a future flight. Upon completion, the flight record is left open, or in “Planning” status, until it has been logged. Logging a flight signifies that the flight occurred, and logged hours will be added to the drone that was flown and to the pilot’s logged hours. When logging a flight that was previously planned, it is important to make sure the flight times have been updated to match the actual time of the flight. This is the flight time that will be added to your records. (Often times, the planned flight time doesn’t turn out to be the same as the hours that are actually flown.)
Can I assign more than one pilot to a flight?
Only one person may be assigned to pilot, but multiple people can be assigned to observer and payload operator for a flight. While the system allows for the same person to be assigned multiple roles, Skyward recommends following your general operating manual and flight procedures for personnel assignment.
Can I assign more than one drone to a flight?
Only one drone may be assigned to a specific flight. However, most operations require multiple flights and may require multiple drones as well. If you plan on flying multiple drones concurrently, create multiple flights at the same time and location in your operation plan.
Is there a way to convert the flights in a planned operation into logged flights?
To log a planned flight:

  1. Click on Log Flight via the top menu bar or the button on your dashboard.
  2. Select “Log a Planned Flight” just below the Flight ID.
  3. The Flight Name field will transform to a drop-down menu.
  4. Select the Planned Flight that you would like to log.
  5. Confirm that the flight information is correct.
  6. Update fields as needed (flight time, REPORT: custom fields, etc).
  7. Click “Save” at the bottom of the screen.
Can I edit a logged flight?
Logged flights are meant to be final records of a given flight. However, a user is permitted to edit a logged flight record. Skyward keeps track of all changes for audit purposes.
How can I keep track of weather conditions for a flight?
You can record the current or historical weather conditions in as much detail as you choose for a specific flight record by using Custom Fields.
Why can I plan a flight with a grounded aircraft?
There may be cases when a drone is currently grounded for service and a future flight needs to be scheduled with the assumption that service will be complete and the drone will, by the time of flight, be back in service.
Why can I schedule the same pilot or drone for concurrent flights?
There may be cases when multiple unconfirmed jobs may be scheduled with the same pilot prior to making a final decision about which flight is flown. For this reason, the system allows you to schedule the same personnel and equipment for concurrent flights.
Can I download my flight information?
Skyward’s reporting feature is available for Professional and Professional Plus subscribers. Navigate to Reports in the top-level menu and select the date range for the flights that you would like to download as a CSV file. Remember: You can use custom fields to report on any metric of your choosing by putting “Report:” in the label field. The “Report:” tag will ensure that that data is pulled into your monthly reports.

Drones & Batteries

Why is Aircraft Manufacturer a Dropdown and what happened to my custom drone manufacturer?
We’ve made it easier to record your data by creating a common UAS manufacturer list that you can select. If you have a UAS from a manufacturer that is not on the list, select Other from the list and enter your manufacturer.
How can I keep track of battery life?
Using a combination of service events and Custom Fields, a Skyward user can keep a detailed service history of each battery’s service, charge percentage and/or voltage levels.
How do I track maintenance on my aircraft and batteries?
Every drone and battery record has a service history section to track repairs, maintenance, firmware upgrades, or any other related information you want to manage. To add an entry into the service record for a drone or battery, click Change at the top of the left column. Using the drop-down, you can change the status of the drone to Active, Grounded, or Retired. Add any relevant notes and click Update. Changing the status from Active to Grounded will start a new ticket in the service history. Changing from Grounded to Active will close the ticket. The advantage of using the service history over notes is that each entry automatically includes the date, time, and name of the person entering the change.
How do I delete my sample aircraft and battery?
The sample aircraft and battery are there to assist you when inputting your own. You can’t delete any aircraft or batteries that exist in your fleet. You can either edit the samples for future aircraft and battery or choose to ‘retire’ them so they are no longer active.

Users & Organizations

How do I upload a picture as my organization avatar?
Clicking the edit icon (it looks like a pencil) below your organization avatar on the Dashboard view will let you upload a picture and crop it. JPG and PNG image formats are supported.
How can I create additional organizations?
Click on the organization selector drop-down near the upper-right corner to display the organization selector. Select Create Organization and you will be walked through a brief setup process.
Can I join other organizations?
Yes. To join an existing organization, simply ask an Organization Admin from that organization to add you to their organization. They can add you by going to Manage > Personnel and clicking on Invite Personnel.
If I fly for multiple clients, do I need a separate Skyward subscription for each?
If each company you fly for already has a Skyward subscription, they should add you to their accounts. Then, you can select the appropriate organization from the drop-down menu in the upper right-hand corner of the screen next to your name. If not all of your clients use Skyward, or if you are the only one with a Skyward subscription, you can use your Skyward account to plan and log all of your flights. Just make sure that you have a subscription that will support all your monthly flights.
What role restrictions and protections are in place in Skyward?
Currently, all personnel added to an operation may change key organization information, delete flights, and assign the role of Organization Admin to personnel. Future updates will edit these capabilities.

Documents

How do I upload documents to my records?
Skyward makes it easy to keep all of your insurance, regulatory, and operational information in one place. You can easily upload documents to your organization from your Dashboard. You can also upload documents when adding or editing personnel, drones, batteries, and flights. When uploading a document, be sure to assign a document type for easy recordkeeping.
Why is the flight time in my report incorrect?
The flight time loads in Universal Coordinated Time (UTC), versus local time.
What does 'Attach from Library' mean?
When you upload a file to a record anywhere in the system, Skyward attaches it automatically to the record you were editing (for example, a flight record) when it was uploaded, and also saves it in the Library. In the future, all you need to do to include that same file to another record is to click Attach from Library within the Documents section, browse to the files you want, select them with check boxes, and click Attach Documents to attach them.
How do I attach files from other record types?
In the Attach from Library window, there is a drop-down selector that will show the record type you are currently editing. Clicking that selector will let you select All and you will see a list of all documents attached anywhere within that organization’s Skyward account.
What are the limits related to documents?
The document storage limits depend on the plan you selected for your organization. Startup organizations can upload a total of 100 MB of documents, and Professional and Professional Plus organizations can save up to 1 GB of data. Individual files have a 100 MB size limit. If you would like to reference large documents from external sources like Dropbox or Google Drive, you can easily add links to your notes or Custom Fields.

Calendar

Does my calendar display all scheduled events from every organization I belong to?
The calendar only displays the events of the organization that is currently selected.

Last Updated: Dec 7, 2016