Drone Service Application - Quickstart guide

DSA: the essentials

The Drone Service Application (DSA) allows the easy submission of flight authorisation requests within the UAS Geographical Zones managed by skeyes and the Belgian Defence.

In order for flight authorisations to be treated efficiently, the skeyes UAS Geographical Zones have been divided into multiple Very Low Level (VLL) zones, based on the risk level regarding manned aviation. You can find more information about these zones below.

Note that this tool can only be used for flight authorisation requests within skeyes’ CTRs, Kortrijk RMZ, and Military geographical zones. For more information about other published UAS Geographical Zones, visit https://map.droneguide.be.
For information: certain types of drone operations will require an additional “operational authorisation” from the BCAA. Please consult the BCAA website (https://mobilit.belgium.be/fr/transport_aerien/drones) for this.

UAS Geographical zones

These are the 6 geozones managed by skeyes for which you are legally obliged to use DSA to get a flight authorisation:

  • Five geozones  situated around the airports of Antwerp, Brussels, Charleroi, Liege and Oostende.

    They are subdivided into 3 subzones called VLLs (Very Low Level  airspace)

    • VLL0: over and close to the actual runways;
    • VLL1: above and near the airport;
    • VLL2: further away from the airport.
  • One geozone situated around the airport of Kortrijk (delimited by the Radio Mandatory Zone)

    It’s subdivided into 2 subzones called VLLs (Very Low Level airspace)

    • EBKT RMZ 1: above and near the airport;
    • EBKT RMZ 2: further away from the airport.

For geographical zones managed by Defence, it is also obligatory to request your flight authorisations via DSA.

Figure 1: All geozones in Belgium managed by skeyes

Figure 2: A closer look at the EBBR (Brussels) geozone, and the subdivision between VLL2, VLL1, VLL0

Figure 3: A three-dimensional representation of a skeyes geozone


Process of requesting a flight authorisation in skeyes airspace

Please note that the user will be guided through every step by the DSA tool, but it is expected of the operator/pilot to be aware of and understand these different steps.

For the DSA tool, there are two stages of a flight authorisation request: pre-authorisation and final authorisation.

Pre-authorisation (multiple days to multiple hours before the operation)

The pre-authorisation consists of all prior strategic coordination with skeyes.

There are several steps during this phase. Please note that these steps will be automated within the DSA tool.

Planning your operation

If you would like to fly in skeyes airspace, you have to plan and submit your operation for review through the Drone Service Application.

Depending on which VLL you want to fly in, the request needs to be sent to skeyes some time in advance, due to the necessary treatment process (see the timeframes below).

VLL 0: No later than D-15
VLL 1: No later than D-8
EBKT1 No later than D-8
VLL 2: No later than H-3
EBKT2 No later than H-3


These timeframes are to ensure that skeyes and any additional stakeholders have sufficient time to review your flight authorisation request.

Pre-authorisation of your operation

Once reviewed, hopefully your operation has been given a pre-authorisation. This indicates that all relevant partners are aware of your operation, and have agreed with it. Possibly, they have added additional restrictions or comments – please make sure to thoroughly read through the approved request.

Operation confirmation

If your operation takes place in VLL0/VLL1/RMZ1, you must confirm via the tool that you really intend to fly on that day. This can be done starting from 1 day before the planned start of the operation, and no later than 3 hours before the operation. This is necessary, so the Air Traffic Controller / Aerodrome Flight Information Officer can take into account your operation while planning.

If your operation takes place in VLL2/RMZ2, the confirmation will happen automatically, 3 hours before the start of your operation.

VLL 0: Not earlier than D-1 and no later than H-3
VLL 1: Not earlier than D-1 and no later than H-3
EBKT1 Not earlier than D-1 and no later than H-3
VLL 2: Automatic at H-3
EBKT2 Automatic at H-3


Final (tactical) authorisation (day of the operation)

This is the tactical coordination with skeyes, the day of the operation right before take-off. It is the final step before you can fly.

If your operation takes place in VLL0, VLL1 or Brussels VLL2 above 150ft AAL and more than 50m away from an obstacle, you must contact Air Traffic Control 30 minutes before the start of your operation by VHF radio or by telephone.

If your operation takes place in VLL2*/RMZ1/RMZ2, contacting Air Traffic Control for authorisation is not required. Authorisation in these zones will be granted automatically. However, Air Traffic Control might contact you themselves in order to give you additional instructions.

*excluding Brussels VLL2 above 150ft AAL and more than 50m away from an obstacle

DSA quickstart guide

Find all necessary steps to set up your DSA account correctly below.

If you encounter any difficulties, make sure to check our FAQ.

Signing up

Signing up for the Drone Service Application is very simple.

  • Navigate to https://planner.skeydrone.tech;
  • Click on the “create an account” button;
  • Enter all necessary information, and confirm that you agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy statement.
  • Next, you’ll receive an e-mail and SMS to verify your e-mail address and phone number, respectively. This is important as, depending on where you will be flying in our geozones, our air traffic controllers may need to contact you.

Once that has been verified, you can now log in to DSA Planner.

Operator-admin and pilot

When you plan an operation, it is important that for each operation an operator-admin and pilot need to be indicated.

The operator-admin is the person who represents the operator, and bears the final responsibility for the operation.

The pilot is the person who will be executing the operation, and thus in control of the flight.

You can add a new operator-admin/pilot by navigating to the "Crewmembers" tab in the left column, and next clicking the "+" button.

Note: once you have added the operator-admin and pilot, they will also need to be authenticated via phone and e-mail. If the pilot/operator-admin have not been authenticated, they will not be selectable during operation planning.

There is no limit to how many pilots/operators you can add to your operation.

After adding your crewmembers, the next step is to add your UAV(s). This can be your own UAV, or one owned by your crew.

Navigate to your UAVs by clicking on the “UAVs” button in the left tab.

Next, click on the “+” icon in the bottom right to add a new UAV, and fill in your drone’s details.

Once finished, it is time to start planning an operation.

After you’ve set up your DSA account, it’s time to start planning an operation in skeyes’ CTRs, Kortrijk RMZ, or a Belgian Defence managed geozone.

This will require you to use the DSA Planner application (https://planner.skeydrone.tech).

Note that for the operation confirmation & authorization, as well as during the operation itself, the pilot must use the DSA Fly module (https://fly.skeydrone.tech).

Before you can fly, there are several steps that need to be completed.


Planning your operation via the DSA Planner application

The first step is to plan your operation in the DSA tool.

  • On your home screen, you’ll find the “Operations” tab in the left column.
  • Here, you can find an overview of your operations

  • To add a new operation, click on the “+” button in the bottom right.
  • You will be presented with the operation creation screen.
    • For each operation, the most important aspect is that you indicate who the operator-admin and pilot will be for the operation.
    • If you are flying solo, you can assign yourself as primary pilot & operator.
  • Once finished, click “Create” to continue completing your operation details.

  • You will be presented with your operation’s details page.

  • There are several elements on this page:
  1. Operation parameters overview
    On the left side of the page, you can view your shortened operation ID and the various sections you need to complete for your operation (Area, Characteristics, Documents, …). You can quickly see if you are still missing some information for a section by checking if the color next to that section is still red.
  2. Operation parameters entry field
    When clicking on a section, you will see the various details for your operation which may still need to be filled out. You can edit the displayed details by clicking on the “edit” or “+” button in the lower right corner.
  3. Submit your operation
    After entering all information, you can submit your operation for review. Depending on the VLL you intend to fly in, you may receive your feedback in an instant or up to 8 business days later (see “Submit your operation” below for more details).
  4. Duplicate your operation
    If your operations tend to have many overlapping parameters (e.g. the same pilot flying every operation or weekly recurring operations), it is possible to duplicate your operation. The existing operation will be duplicated and “COPY” will be added to its name.
  5. Discard your operation
    If you are unhappy with your operation, you can discard it. Doing this will delete the operation out of your Operations list.
  6. Operation status
    There are different statuses available in the Drone Service Application:

    • Draft: Your operation has not been submitted yet, and details can still be adapted.
    • Pending consent: When submitting an operation with a pilot/operator other than yourself, all extra crew needs to accept their role in the operation. Important: the operation will only be submitted to the relevant authority once all of the crew have accepted their role.
    • Pending review: The operation is awaiting review by the relevant authority.
    • Under review: The relevant authority has started the review process for your operation.
    • Approved: Your operation has been approved.
    • Rejected: Your operation has been rejected.
      Note: the reason for rejection will always be given under the “General” section of the operation.
    • Confirmed: see “Operation confirmation” for more information.
    • Authorised: see “Operation authorisation” for more information.
    • Activated: the operation has been started.
    • Non-conforming: ATC has deemed your operation as not following their recommended advice, and will indicate your operation as non-conforming. You are obligated to land at your earliest convenience.
    • Closed: Your operation has ended, and has been moved to the “Archived” tab in your “Operations” list.


Submit your operation

Once you are happy with your operation, you can submit your operation for review.

Depending on the VLL you want to fly in, the request needs to be sent to skeyes some days in advance, due to the treatment process (see the timeframes below). For more information on the different VLL zones, click here.

VLL 0: No later than D-15
VLL 1: No later than D-8
EBKT1 No later than D-8
VLL 2: No later than H-3
EBKT2 No later than H-3



These timeframes are to ensure that skeyes and any additional stakeholders have sufficient time to review your flight authorisation request.

For geographical zones managed by Belgian Defence, the above timings are not applicable. You can find the entire list of geographical zones + their rulesets (including timings) in this FAQ article.


Approval of your operation

Once reviewed, hopefully your operation has been approved. This indicates that all relevant partners are aware of your operation, and have agreed with your indicated parameters. Possibly, they have added additional restrictions or comments – please make sure to thoroughly read through the approved request by checking the “General” section of your operation..
Before you can fly however, there are two final stages for your operation.


Operation confirmation

If your operation will be in VLL0/VLL1/EBKT1, you must confirm that your operation will still take place. This can be done through either DSA Planner or DSA Fly.
This can be done starting from 1 day before the planned start of the operation, and no later than 3 hours before the operation. This is necessary, so the Air Traffic Controller / Aerodrome Flight Information Officer can take into account your operation while planning.

If your operation takes place in VLL2/EBKT2, the confirmation will automatically be done 3 hours before the start of your operation.

VLL 0: Not earlier than D-1 and no later than H-3
VLL 1: Not earlier than D-1 and no later than H-3
EBKT1 Not earlier than D-1 and no later than H-3
VLL 2: Automatic at H-3
EBKT2: Automatic at H-3


Operation authorisation

This is the final step before you can fly.

If your operation will be in VLL0,VLL1 or Brussels VLL2 above 150ft AAL and more than 50m away from an obstacle, you must contact Air Traffic Control 30 min before the start of your operation by VHF radio or by telephone.

If your operation will be in VLL2*/EBKT1/EBKT2, contacting Air Traffic Control for authorisation is not required. Authorisation in these zones will be granted automatically. However, Air Traffic Control might contact you themselves in order to give you additional instructions.

*excluding Brussels VLL2 above 150ft AAL and more than 50m away from an obstacle

From here, the pilot should now open DSA Fly.

  • After logging in with your account, you’ll be able to view your list of different operations, ordered by their scheduled time.

  • Click on the operation you would like to perform.
  • You should see an overview of all details of your operation, including the options “Fly” or “Reschedule”.
    If you do not see these options, you probably have not completed all necessary pre-operation steps. Ensure that you have completed these, if not you might need to reschedule your flight.

  • Once you are ready to start, and have consulted all other active restrictions and performed all necessary checks, click on “Take-off”.


Notifications

There are three necessary notifications to be done during your operation:

  • Take-off notification
    • This is done through the “Take-off” button.
  • Land notification
    • If you are done with your flight or need to land for whatever reason, you need to click “Land” via the DSA Fly tool.
    • Note that you can take-off and land as often as you want during your operation window.
  • Close operation notification
    • If you have landed your drone and have finished your operation, clicking the “close operation” button indicates to ATC that you have completely finished your operation.

If you encounter any issues when going through these steps, check out our FAQ. If you still can not find the answer, you can send us a message through our FAQ page.

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