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When it comes to pre-flight planning, being able to get context about the job site without being there sets you up for success. Skyward’s planning tools allow for easy recognition of controlled airspace and a quick understanding of where it’s safe to fly.
Let’s begin by selecting the Map option from the header menu within Skyward:
Now that the map has loaded, as you scroll into a prospective flight area, you’ll start to notice that airspace details will populate on the map:
At a high level, you’ll see features such as:
- LAANC facility grids represented as blue shapes
- Facilities that have grids that have not yet been enabled represented as orange shapes
- Advisory airspace over things like state parks, schools and hospitals represented as yellow shapes
- Restricted airspace, TFRs, and MOAs represented as red shapes
You’ll also notice that things such as airport runway orientations (long solid yellow lines) begin to populate on the map.
As you continue to zoom down into your area of operation, you’ll begin to see things like the LAANC facility grid heights (in AGL), heliports, arenas, and hospitals.
And as you zoom even further, marked obstacles in our obstacle database will begin to show. All heights for these marked obstacles are in feet AGL. In addition to these obstacles, you’ll see pedestrian paths and major transmission lines (short yellow and long yellow dashes)
While zoomed in to the map at this depth, it’s also possible to enable 3D Mode to review the environment in a 3D render within the map. This is especially helpful in urban areas, where context can sometimes be difficult to achieve for your area of operation.
To toggle this on, use the 3D button in the bottom-right corner of the screen.
Once in 3D Mode, the buildings in that area will render in 3D, and you can pan around them to get a complete 360 degree view of your surroundings. To do this, either click and hold the compass icon in the bottom-right as you pan your mouse, or hold the control button on your keyboard as you pan the mouse.
As you’re exploring the map, remember that all of this can be done in any of the 3 map layers that are offered in Skyward. The layer toggle is in the bottom-right corner and looks like a stack of papers. This will bring up a selector where you can toggle between Satellite, Terrain, or Dark Mode.
As you move through the map in any of the three airspace layers, selecting a point on the map will populate airspace cards in the lower left corner of the map. These airspace cards will show any controlled, restricted, or advisory airspace, as well as the nearest street address to the point selected on the map.
For Skyward’s Business and Enterprise customers, there’s an additional airspace layer for the VFR sectional chart available in the layers menu. Select this layer to toggle on the sectional chart, but please note that airspace such as LAANC facility grids will not display in this view.
Once you understand the airspace surrounding your area of operation, the next step is to define your area of operation within Skyward and attach it to an operation. This will allow you to marry your flight area with crew, aircraft, and all the other resources to get the job done. Click on Next Article for help defining an AOP, and planning your operations.