As with many parts of the drone industry, when you first start looking at flight operations management tools there is so much information out there, and so many different tools for different tasks, that you can easily feel overwhelmed.
So how do you sift through the noise, and find the tools you truly need to run your sUAS operation?
This resource was created to help by honing in on those tools that were created only for flight operations management.
In the article below we cover who should consider using a flight operations management tool, and then take a look at five of the main flight ops tools on the market today.
What Are Flight Operations Management Tools?
Before we go any further, let’s define our terms.
By flight operations management tools we mean a single tool that allows drone pilots to:
- Do airspace research
- Keep battery logs
- Keep aircraft maintenance logs
- Create and store pilot profiles
- Track insurance
- Track certification
- Track registration information
Basically, we’re talking about a tool that is a single dashboard for all of the details related to your flight ops, specifically created to store all the flight ops information you need stored, and to provide flight ops information when it comes to airspace research.
Who Should Consider Using a Flight Operations Management Tool
Flight operations management tools aren’t necessarily a good fit for everyone.
If you’re a solopreneur running your own business, and you only have yourself and your own missions to worry about, you probably don’t need a flight ops management tool. If you’re on a small team of two to three pilots, a flight ops tool is probably a good idea, but may not be crucial for your operations to be a success.
On the other hand, if you work with a team of pilots, either as a service provider or as a unit that’s part of a larger organization, be it public or private, then you almost definitely need to be using a flight ops management tool.
The rationale for using a flight operations management tool is simple. If you have a complicated operation with lots of moving parts, you need one place where you can store and track all of your information.
Flight ops tools also help you provide transparency with clients, because they allow you to provide records and other documents related to a mission at the push of a button. On a similar note, it’s nice to have a place where all of your records are kept in case you want to do a historic dig into past data to remind yourself about a certain mission, or simply want to refer back to a prior project to inform your current efforts.
Flight Operations Management Tools
Below are some of the top flight operations management tools on the market.
All of these tools offer free trials, which means you can see what they have to offer from the inside without risking any money. See the last line in each company profile below for the link to register for a free account.
Regarding how to find the right tool for you, the truth is that everyone’s needs are unique, and there is no silver bullet or perfect platform. We recommend signing up for free trials, doing small tests, and also reaching out to people in your community to see which tools they’ve had the most success with.
Now without further ado, here are the top flight operations management tools out there.
Aloft is a one-stop shop for flying, logging, and coordinating UAV operations.
They have a strong focus on providing value for their pilots, which manifests in the usability of their platform and the fact that they allow for the unlimited logging of hours.
Watch this video to learn more about how Aloft helps pilots manage their operations:
Check out the Aloft YouTube channel for tutorials on how to use the Aloft platform, and to learn more about how they support drone flight operations management.
Skyward, A Verizon company is an aviation management platform designed for commercial drone operators. Their primary focus is on helping larger, enterprise-level teams manage their drone ops through a mix of software and consulting services.
Their software platform includes a great airspace map (with 3D views of vertical obstacles) for researching airspace and planning flights. Skyward is an FAA-approved LAANC service provider, so you can get fast access to controlled airspace through their platform. On top of that, Skyward also helps companies keep track of all their pilots, drones, batteries, and certifications. It’s a great set of tools for larger drone programs.
Watch this video to learn more about how Skyward helps pilots manage their operations:
Skyward also offers professional consulting services for companies looking to start or expand a program. With their close ties to Verizon, they’re working toward connecting drones to wireless networks to enable advanced operations, like flying beyond visual line of sight.
For an overview of Skyward’s drone management platform, check out their Demo Page.
Skyward offers subscriptions for businesses and enterprises. You can get started here.
Create a free Skyward account here.
DroneLogbook is a flight management platform for UAV Pilots.
They focus on automating log collections and support more than 20 different UAV log file types. They also have features to manage equipment, battery, maintenance, incident, location, and pre-flight documents.
DroneLogBook supports a spectrum of UAV pilots, from hobbyists to large companies.
Watch this video to learn more about how DroneLogbook helps pilots manage their operations:
Check out the DroneLogbook YouTube channel for tutorials on how to use DroneLogbook, and to learn more about how they support drone flight operations management.
Create a free DroneLogbook account here.
Still uncertain which flight operations management tool is the right one for you?
The truth is that it’s hard to choose, and that finding the perfect tool presents something of a moving target these days, given how fast these tools are changing, and how quickly the drone industry as a whole is developing.
In all likelihood, you really won’t know which flight operations management tool provides just the right fit for your operations until you dive in and try a few of them out. We suggest setting yourself up with a free account using one of the links provided above and seeing how things go from there.
We hope this list of flight ops tools helps you narrow down your choices, and find what you’re looking for when it comes to a flight operations management tool.
Blue skies and safe flying out there!