The new functionality of the d-flight portal
On last 16th June 2020, the d-flight portal made a new function available to registered users: the Drone Operation Area. The announcement had already been the subject of a previous 4mydrone Blog post “d-flight news – Drone registration and Drone Operation Area“.
The purpose of this new function is to be able to enter your flight missions, in the d-flight portal, in order to check if there are other remotely piloted aircraft in the vicinity of your flight area. All for the purpose of greater security.
Let’s see how to use this important d-flight portal add-on, through this operating guide, also suggesting some simple tricks since the use is not really simple and intuitive.
Note for the reader: Due to the contents of the legal policy of the d-flight website, it is not possible to link and/or report screnshoot of the various phases relating to the creation of the login and/or management of the Drone Operation Area. The accurate descriptions of the operational steps, described below, make the absence of images influential for the purpose of this guide.
How to get in to the Drone Operation Area
In order to define the Drone Operation Area on the d-flight portal, you must have a registered drone, ready to fly with active QR, obviously an access login.
For those not registered on the d-flight portal, I invite you to follow the steps described in the guide “d-flight – Register your drone (guide)“, available on the 4mydrone website.
Once logged in, the creation of the Drone Oepration Area takes place by selecting the cross-shaped icon at the bottom left in the screen.
From here it is then possible to draw the Drone Operation Area by setting some data in the panel that opened.
In the panel in fact there are two areas available: one reserved for mission details, and the other relating to the shape of the area or the shape of the flight mission.
In the mission details panel, you must enter the maximum mission height (in meters) and the mission duration (in minutes).
These parameters are set by default at 30 meters and 30 minutes respectively, but you need to change them in relation to the flight mission you are going to define, using the selectors to the right of the two fields.
By clicking up or down the default values will increase or decrease. Alternatively, you can also enter the values by typing them.
Once these data have been entered, you will pass to the box reserved for the actual design of the Drone Operation Area. In this box you have to select the shape of the flight area, and the available options are two: Polygon or Circle. Once selected the one that identifies with the flight zone, you can then click on the “Draw” button.
Tips & Tricks 1: In order not to go crazy while trying to draw the flight area, it is preferable to go to the area of interest on the map and enlarge it up to the maximum scale 1: 5000, to have a good detail of what you are going to draw (the map is enlarged using the mouse wheel).
Drone Operation Area draw
Flight mission Polygon draw
If the flight mission to be drawn is of the polygon type, select the “Polygon” option and then “Draw“.
At this point on the map of the d-flight portal, stuck to the mouse pointer there is a blue dot. Then moving the mouse in relation to the starting point of the mission, clicking with the right mouse button determines the starting point of the Drone Operation Area.
Moving according to what will be the perimeter of the flight mission, and clicking with the right mouse button at each vertex, the Drone Operation Area is traced. The data shown to you while dragging the mouse (distances and surfaces), will therefore allow the correct drawing of the area to be covered. A double click always with the left mouse button, will set the mission according to the desired parameters.
The final result is the Drone Operation Area, which can be “Saved” or “Saved and activated” by clicking on the relevant pop-up button. The difference between the options is immediate: the first option saves the mission, while the second makes it operational (not if it does not find us located in the area but this will be explained shortly).
Flight mission Circle draw
If instead the flight mission to be activated is circular, you must select the “Circle” option and click on the “Draw” button.
Similarly to the previous case, there is the usual blue dot near the mouse. Once the dot is positioned in the center of the mission, to draw it just click once with the left mouse button and then drag it until you reach the radius value of the flight mission to be set.
The data shown to you while dragging the mouse will therefore allow the correct drawing of the misisone. A click always with the left mouse button will set the mission according to the data reached.
Like in the previous case, the mission can be “Saved” or “Saved and activated“.
In the event that the defined Drone Operation Area does not coincide with the air rules for that area, once the drawing is completed, a pop-up will immediately warn of the non-compatibility, for example reporting the message “The airway quota exceeds the allowable in the area: 0 m ”
Info about Drone Operation Area set
Whatever the form of the flight mission defined on the map of the d-flight portal, it is possible to access the relevant information by clicking on the mission defined with the right mouse button. An ad hoc pop-up will summarize the key data, including the rules of the air.
Tips & Tricks 2: Verifying the mission is a good practice to do it after saving it and before activating it, because it could be discovered that the defined Drone Operation Area is not totally compatible with the air rules provided for that site.
Through the pop-up you can cancel the mission since one flight mission at a time per user is allowed.
Starting the mission
The activation of the Drone Operation Area, or of the mission, can take place from the information pop-up, described above, by selecting the “airplane taking off” icon.
But be careful! Activation occurs only and only if the user, or the operator, is in the mission area! That is, if the operator with the device with which he is tracing the mission on the portal is in the mission area!
In fact, if not, you will receive these two alert messages, in sequence, whose ambiguity is clear:
“You must be inside the declared area in order to activate the Drone Operation Area” and “Unable to activate the misisone. The user is outside the area“.
Tips & Tricks 3: If you are at home and via the PC you are defining the mission, you can only draw and save it, but do not activate it, because your geo-location will coincide with the location of your internet connection provider and not at your location physics.
So to activate the Drone Operation Area, you must be physically or geo-located in the mission area, with your PC or smartphone, only then, by clicking on the icon of the plane taking off, will the mission be activated, returning in the pop-up on mission status “Activated”, with the altitude parameters, duration, start date and time and timer.
Once the mission has been activated, by clicking with the mouse button inside the defined Drone Operation Area, through the pop-up panel, it will then be possible to read the information relating to: air rules, set parameters, interested areas, as well as conclude the mission (by clicking on the icon of the landing area) or as already said, delete it.
At the end of the mission, the date and time of its completion will be recorded, and the polygon or circle of the mission will be automatically deleted. In the mission pop-up, the word “Accomplished” will appear next to the mission status item, and at the bottom of the pop-up a white writing on a green background will show the word “Mission accomplished successfully“.
The new Drone Operation Area function introduced in the d-flight portal has the main purpose of being able to plan flight missions in a context of “situation awareness” in real time.
Although it constitutes an important milestone in the direction of safety, the function should be improved in terms of usability (too many clicks), but above all the limit of geo-localization for activation should be bypassed, when the mission design “on site” through a smartphone, it is certainly not easy.
In addition, if defined as “at home” there is a risk that you either forget or find yourself unable to activate it in the place of operations, due to forgetfulness or unavailability of data-signal coverage on your smartphone or tablet.
Note regarding the images: The screenshoots in the article were made by 4mydrone. The use of screenshots is exclusively for the purpose of a better understanding of the contents of the article. The highlighted image was made by 4mydrone on one of a basic photo taken from the pixabay.com site, free for commercial use without attribution request, the author of which is seehotel-diekseepark.
Last Updated on/Ultimo aggiornamento – 15/03/2021