Creating flight areas is key for efficient flight operations. Attaching a flight area to a planned flight in Skyward allows you to quickly communicate with your field crew, lower risks, and save time.
By standardizing your flight planning process you can focus on planning the job to provide exactly what your customers want, increase your on-site output, lower your overhead, and avoid dangerous or costly incidents.
Log in and navigate to the map. Click on the search icon and enter the location of your flight. The Skyward map allows you to find a location using street address; degrees, minutes, seconds; decimal degrees; or UTM:
If you click a point on the map, its coordinates will be displayed in the lower right of your screen. You can copy and paste those coordinates into points of interest. If you click a new location, new coordinates will display.
Before you create a flight area, take a look at the airspace around the flight location. Aviation authorities usually require special coordination for commercial UAS operations if the the location is within controlled airspace or an airport coordination zone.
Explore the airspace around the flight job location using the map. Locate nearby airports that are surrounded by controlled airspace.
All Skyward Paid Subscribers: You have exclusive access to an extra layer on the Skyward Airspace Map — the visual flight rules chart (VFR sectional) familiar to experienced aviators. Use it to understand more about the airspace as it applies to all aircraft over and near the flight location. Showing your flight area on the sectional makes it easier to properly notify and coordinate with aviation authorities.
This will show your field crew, customer, and other stakeholders exactly where the flight will take place. It will also allow you to see and plan for any hazards or obstacles so your crew doesn’t waste time on the day of the flight.
Keep it simple, but be sure to cover the entire area that the aircraft might fly over during the job.
Skyward paying subscribers also have the ability to create and display multiple flight areas on the map at one time. This is useful when you need to evaluate and assign a crew to multiple flights in a given day or week for example. This can also be used to break down a single map area into multiple flights.
Name the flight area so that you can easily find it at a glance.
Choosing good naming conventions now will make flights easy to find later, even if you have hundreds saved in Skyward. The name should show basic information about the location, the owner or controller, and the type of site.
If you operate in multiple locales, you may use the city name or the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) code for the nearest major airport for the general location. Use an address and site name for the specific location. Consider including the name of the client or site owner so that you can easily associate a flight area to a customer.
√ A useful flight area name:
KJAX:1915 Wigmore St:Storage Yard:Nice Construction Co
X A name that may cause confusion later:
Storage Yard Photo Flight
You can always rename a flight area after it’s saved.
Draw a polygon or rectangle to enclose the area over which you may need to fly. Because the nearest major airport is KJAX, this flight area has been named: KJAX:1915 Wigmore St:Storage Yard:Nice Construction Co
After a flight area is saved, the center point of the flight area will be displayed in the Flight Area sidebar. (This is especially useful for filing a NOTAM with the FAA.)
Click on to place a marker on the areas that your customer wants photographed, filmed, surveyed, etc. In Skyward, these are called points-of-interest, or POIs.
If you do not see the point of interest icon in the toolbar uncheck all but the one flight area you want to edit.
Use the basic flight area and POIs to review the job with your customer. If you need to, add more detail to the POIs: structure height, special focus areas, or the type of product your customer needs. Add this information to the marker description.
Place a marker on the customer’s points of interest. Describe the product, or end result, of each POI.
Place a hazard marker on obstructions or avoid areas that are near any of the points of interest.
Hazard: anything that might be dangerous to the aircraft or crew or that might interfere with a flight. With advance planning, you’ll be able to work around many hazards.
Obstruction: anything that the aircraft may collide with or that might block the pilot’s line-of-sight. Mark obstructions to understand where and how high you should fly.
Avoid area: an area that is off-limits either because you don’t have permission or because the area is sensitive. Examples include private residences, ballparks and playgrounds, and freeways.
After creating a flight area you are able to edit it by selecting the “Edit” button under the title of your flight area. The pre-selected shape will stay the same (eg, circle), but you can enlarge, shrink, or move the shape at any time before or after logging the flight.