The Coalition of UAS Professionals, in partnership with Leidos, is happy to announce the release of UASidekick – this easy-to-use app puts the power of the UAS Notification Service in the palm of your hand, streamlines the process so that it only takes about 30 seconds to file a NOTAM or UOA flight plan, and provides a host of other functionality such as airspace awareness and flight logging.. The UASidekick app is the only one of its kind providing real-time integration with the FAA Flight Service system which serves over 80,000 pilots weekly. With 2.5 million drones currently in operation, and 7 million estimated to be flying over American skies by 2020, strategic airspace deconfliction is a concern to us all. Our goal is to bring all members of the aviation community together (both manned & unmanned) onto one common platform to facilitate safety, transparency and communication.
Leidos (NYSE: LDOS) Flight Service has created an unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) service that helps safeguard the airspace by sending automatic notifications of unmanned aircraft operations to relevant groups. “Our [Leidos] flight service program provides a range of safety-oriented services to more than 80,000 members of the general aviation community across the country each week,” Paul Engola, senior vice president of transportation and financial Solutions for Leidos Civil Group. “This UAS notification and deconfliction service broadens that safety mission by providing pilots with the information needed to avoid conflicts as more and more unmanned aircraft take to the skies. We will continue to develop concepts and capabilities that enable safe integration of UAS into the airspace.”
The Leidos UAS Notification Service is being tested as part of the Federal Aviation Administration UAS Pathfinder Program with Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) railways to explore concepts for “beyond visual line-of-sight” operations of small, unmanned aircraft. Conflicts with high-speed military aircraft can arise when UAS operations cross military training routes, or when planned commercial UAS and military operations take place simultaneously. The service facilitates the resolution of these overlaps—a process referred to as deconfliction.
UAS Operators access the internet-based service via desktop or ios/android app UASidekick to file “flight plans” for their UAS operating areas. The service then automatically generates and sends all required notifications, including to applicable military personnel and a “Notice to Airmen” (NOTAM) —which alerts pilots of potential hazards that could affect flight safety. Leidos Flight Service also sends alerts to general aviation pilots that will be flying in the same area while the UAS is operating.
“This process ensures all applicable parties and aircraft in the area are informed ahead of UAS operations for safety.” Mike Glasgow, Leidos Fellow, Notification Service Chief Architect.
The new service is an extension of the UAS Operating Area filing capability available at Leidos’ website www.1800wxbrief.com, by ios/android app UASidekick, and through web services for routine commercial UAS use. The Leidos Flight Service will expand the program to support other UAS operators in the near future.