Can You Fly a Drone in an Enhanced Warning Zone?
Enhanced Warning Zones are areas on the edge of controlled airspace that warn pilots about hazardous airspace near an airport or other restricted zones.
Are you allowed to fly your drone in an Enhanced Warning Zone?
Pilots do not need to request permission to fly within Enhanced Warning Zones. Currently, DJI drones are the only ones that have visual warnings when entering warning zones, but that does not mean they should be ignored by pilots using other drones.
Keep reading to learn more about flying your drone in Enhanced Warning Zones!
Enhanced Warning Zone details – Can I fly my drone here?
Enhanced Warning Zones extend 2 kilometers or 1.24 miles around every Authorization Zone. In certain cases, such as around small airports, the Authorization Zone only covers the runway because of the small amount of air traffic.
These airports will have an Enhanced Warning Zone surrounding the runway with a diameter of 4 kilometers or 2.49 miles. When drones enter Enhanced Warning Zones, the pilot will receive a message on their screen that requires action to continue.
The window will explain that the drone is in an Enhanced Warning Zone and ask if the pilot wants to continue flying. If the pilot agrees, the window will close and operations will continue as normal.
When flying in warning zones, the most important thing to consider is proximity to manned aircraft. By law, any manned aircraft must stay above 500 feet except for two important reasons, takeoff, and landing.
Enhanced Warning Zones are the buffer to alert pilots of potential risks. Always be vigilant for low-flying planes and other low-altitude hazards in the area.
It may seem as though the DJI is asking if pilots want to fly in illegal airspace when the prompt appears on the screen, but do not be concerned. It is not against the law to fly in Enhanced Warning Zones; it is simply more important to know each pilot is making the conscious decision to enter an area with increased risk.
As Enhanced Warning Zones only exist in the UAV world, there is extra caution to protect from unintended damage and incident.
How do I recognize Enhanced Warning Zones?
As Enhanced Warning Zones cover the exterior of nearly every airport in the United States, there are bound to be a lot of them.
They also will extend into areas pilots may not expect due to being so far away from airports or other high-risk areas.
When looking at the DJI GO 4 or DJI Fly app, it’s easy to see warning zones and other Authorization Zones.
Once the controller is connected to the drone, select the map in the bottom left corner of the phone or tablet connected. The map will show the immediate area and can be panned around to see any area that has been rendered.
Enhanced Warning Zones will appear as dark orange circles, Authorization Zones are blue, and Restricted Flight Zones are red.
The zones are shown as circles and will restrict drone flight according to the parameters of the zone.
For example, if the drone is near a blue Authorization Zone, a warning will appear.
When attempting to enter an Authorization Zone, the drone will stop and be unable to continue.
If I don’t fly a DJI drone, how do I find Enhanced Warning Zones?
Geofencing eliminates the choice pilots have to fly within the Authorization and no-fly zones by restricting drones to stay outside those areas. This also affects Enhanced Warning Zones because it allows DJI to warn pilots when their device enters these areas.
Geofencing is the reason pilots can identify these zones. Without it, there is no warning available. In other words, without a DJI drone, there is no foolproof way to know where the Enhanced Warning Zones are.
Apps such as Airmap, B4Ufly, Aloft, and others will show authorized airspaces and no-fly zones, but typically do not show Enhanced Warning Zones because pilots are permitted to fly in them without any permission or communication with air traffic control.
However, it is good practice to stay as far away from airports as possible. If not, always be vigilant and be sure to watch for low-flying aircraft in the area.
The FAA is the only entity in the United States that is allowed to regulate UAV airspace. However, they do allow certain private owners to restrict landing and taking off on their land because of other laws regarding privacy.
Enhanced Warning Zones are created by DJI to help this process along. DJI can’t restrict flight outside of controlled airspace, but they could add a warning to allow pilots a secondary level of accountability when flying in areas near airports.
Flying a non-DJI drone is becoming more and more common and there are a few things that are important to know when doing so. With the absence of geofencing, there are more risks involved with drone flying.
There is no restriction on the app of no-fly zones and sometimes no indication of the zone either. It remains the responsibility of the pilot to know where Authorization Zones are and when permission is required to fly.
Enhanced Warning Zones are not part of controlled airspace that requires permission, but they are areas that are important to recognize due to the proximity of airports and Authorization Zones.
It is more than okay to fly your drone within Enhanced Warning Zones.
DJI has simply created a warning system to show pilots where they are in proximity to controlled airspace. When a DJI drone enters an Enhanced Warning Zone, the pilot will see a warning and pop-up window requesting action to accept responsibility and continue flying.
There are no restrictions in Enhanced Warning Zones unless the FAA has others that overlap the warning zones.
Without a DJI drone, you get no warning when within these zones, but there is no restriction to stop them from flying either. Without a drone from DJI, pilots can fly with peace of mind while paying attention to Authorization Zones where permission is required.