2 step custom unlocking process
If you didn’t zone out from Part 1, you might still want to understand how you can get the all clear to fly your DJI drone in a Restricted Zone.
This is where DJI’s Custom Unlocking service comes into play.
DJI states that there are 2 steps to preparing a custom unlocking application. In reality, there are multiple sub-steps to both.
Step 1 requires a person to provide “Basic Information”. This includes paperwork that demonstrates that you (or the organisation you work for) has the necessary authorisation to fly in the restricted zone.
Obtaining the required authorisation as part of Step 1 can potentially be very time consuming and complex. Particularly if you don’t have a knack for paperwork or a general grasp of regulatory approval processes. It seems to be very much a case of getting all the ducks in a row, dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s.
Step 2 fortunately does not seem to be as involved as Step 1. Step 2 in essence requires you to submit information about the “Unlocking Area” (the area the subject of the authorisation in Step 1). As part of Step 2 there is also a terms and conditions checkbox with some legalese. You will need to agree to these terms and conditions before proceeding. These also incorporate by reference a number of hyperlinked documents. You may want to in advance familiarise yourself with these documents if you have any concerns from a legal point of view.
Once the application has been submitted, you should allow some time for it to be assessed. DJI strives to process applications within 24 hours. However, it may take longer in certain instances including if there are deficiencies in the application.
One final tip: factor into consideration any other contingencies. For example, potential adverse weather conditions that may impact your ability to get your drone in the air on the day/s that you’re planning to fly.
Please also keep in mind that there are rules and processes pertaining to the “Yellow”, “Green” and “Uncoloured” zones. We mention this because it’s possible that your planned flight will involve multiple zones. We’ll consider rules and processes relating to those zones at another time.
As a final cautionary note, certain drone technology and associated processes are in a state of technological and regulatory flux. It would be naïve to assume that DJI Custom Unlocking processes won’t evolve over time to better accommodate market demand. Similarly, in the case of regulators such as CASA, we expect a degree of change around approval processes as the drone market develops.
Photos by the Dronetrepreneur from Instagram.