DSA Quick Start Guide

Before consulting our quickstart guide, we highly suggest to visit the BCAA’s website explaining the new legislations. There you will find all legal requirements to correctly execute your flight, wherever you are in Belgium.

A special procedure is foreseen for operators performing missions as described in EU 2018/1139 art. 2 par. 3. Operators who believe they are eligble for this special procedure should contact the SPACC office on SPACC@skeyes.be

Summary

DSA tool: the essentials

New Geographical zones

New process of requesting a flight authorization in skeyes airspace

Quickstart guide: flying in skeyes airspace

Droneguide phase out & DSA tool availability

Transition period for the use of DSA between 18/12/2020 and 31/12/2021

DSA tool: the essentials

Starting from December 31st, skeyes launches the Drone Service Application (DSA). This tool allows the easy submission of flight authorization requests within the UAS Geographical Zones managed by skeyes, in particular the Control Zones (CTRs) of Antwerp, Brussels, Charleroi, Liège, Ostend, as well as the Kortrijk Radio Mandatory Zone (RMZ).

To allow for an efficient treatment of flight authorizations, these zones have been divided into multiple Very Low Level (VLL) zones, based the risklevel towards manned aviation. More information about these zones is below.

Note that this tool can only be used for flight authorization requests within skeyes’ CTRs and Kortrijk RMZ. For more information about other published UAS Geographical Zones, see the instructions in the first part of this message.

For information: certain types of drone operations will require an additional “operational authorization” from BCAA. Please consult the BCAA website for this (https://mobilit.belgium.be/fr/transport_aerien/drones).

New 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 Antwerpen, Brussels, Charleroi, Liège and Oostende.

    They are subdivided in to 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 GeoZones situated around the airports of Kortrijk (delimited by the Radio Mandatory Zone)

    It’s subdivided in to 2 subzones called VLLs (“Very Low Level”- airspace)
    • EBKT RMZ 1: above and near the airport
    • EBKT RMZ 2: further away from the airport

Figure 1: All skeyes managed GeoZones in Belgium

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

New process of requesting a flight authorization in skeyes airspace

With the launch of a new tool, there also come new procedures to follow before you can fly your drone. 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 authorization request:

  • Operation approval (Days before the operation)

The operational approval consists of all prior strategic coordination with skeyes that is before the day of the operation.

There are several steps during the Operation approval phase. Please note that these steps will be automated with the DSA tool.

Submit your operation

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

Depending on in which VLL you want to fly, the request needs to be sent to skeyes some days 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 authorization request.

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 it. Possibly, they have added additional restrictions or comments – please make sure to thoroughly read through the approved request.

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 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

A short summary:

  • Operation authorization (Day of the operation)

Operation authorisation is the tactical coordination with skeyes, the day of the operation right before take-off.

This is the final step before you can fly.

If your operation will be in VLL0/VLL1, 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 authorization is not required. Authorization in these zones will be granted automatically. However, Air Traffic Control might contact you themselves in order to give you additional instructions.

A short summary:

Quickstart guide: flying in skeyes airspace

If you haven’t used the DSA tool yet, you must sign-up. This is a one-time set-up.

From here on out: make sure you get to know who’s the operator admin and who are the pilots you want to get involved for each flight you have in mind.

During the pre-ops phase, different steps will need to be performed before you can fly. These include:

  • Operation submission
  • Operation approval
  • Operation confirmation
  • Operation authorization

Each step will be explained in the following slides.

After receiving authorization, you can carry out your operation, keeping in mind the active restrictions and conditions.

1. Set up DSA Account


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 “sign-up 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.

Once 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 needs to be indicated.

The operator admin is the person who represents the operator, and is the end responsible for the operation.

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

After you have added the operator-admin and pilot, they will need to be authenticated via phone and e-mail.

If the pilot/operator-admin has not been authenticated , they will not be selectable during operation planning.

2. Pre-operation phase


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

Note that for the operation confirmation & authorization, as well as during the operation itself, the pilot can use the DSA Fly module.

Please note that flight authorization requests in VLL0/VLL1 will need to be submitted manually via the form on the DSA website from 15/12 until 1/01.

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

Planning your operation
The first step is 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 “Add” button.
  • 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 have not added these yet to your account, please do so now.
    • You can add your operation area by:
      • Drawing it straight in the tool
      • Importing a KML, GeoJSON, GPX file
      • Note: only 1 contiguous zone can be entered per operation. Take this into account when creating and importing your file. A flight in VLOS conditions will only be allowed to have a maximum radius of 500m.
    • For each operation, you will have to fill in all necessary details.
  • Once you are done adding all information, you can “Save” the operation to make later edits. Note that “saving” your operation does NOT mean that it will be sent to skeyes for review. To do this, you need to “Submit” your operation.

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

Depending on in which VLL you want to fly, 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 authorization request.

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 it. Possibly, they have added additional restrictions or comments – please make sure to thoroughly read through the approved request.
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 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 authorization
This is the final step before you can fly.

If your operation will be in VLL0/VLL1, 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 authorization is not required. Authorization in these zones will be granted automatically. However, Air Traffic Control might contact you themselves in order to give you additional instructions.

After completing these steps, you are now ready to fly within skeyes’ airspace.

3. Operation phase


From here, the pilot should now open DSA Fly.

DSA Fly is a mobile browser-based tool, which is currently not yet available. For more information, click here.

  • 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 execute.
  • You should see an overview of all details of your operation, including the options to “Abort” or “Let’s Fly”.
    • 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 “Let’s Fly”.

Notifications

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

  • Take-off notication
    • This is done through the “Let’s Fly” button.
  • Land notification
    • If you are done with your flight, or need to land for whatever reason, you need to click “Land” via the Fly tool.
    • Note that you can take-off and land as often as you want during your operation window.
  • End of operations announcement
    • If you have landed your drone and have finished your operation, clicking the “end of operations” 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 cannot find the answer, you can send us a message through our FAQ page.

Droneguide phase out & DSA tool availability

Droneguide phase out

Since Droneguide is based on the Belgian drone legislation of 2016, it will no longer be compatible with the new European legislation. This means that:

  • Between December 15th and December 31st, 2020 almost all Droneguide functionalities will remain operational (derogation requests are no longer possible since the end of November 2020)
  • After December 31st, 2020 the Droneguide Portal and the mobile application will no longer be available. If desired, a short instruction is added at the end of this message to allow you to download your existing Droneguide data.

The visualisation on a digital map of the above mentioned UAS Geographical Zones in a digital format will be ensured through the continued use of the Droneguide Map, available from 31/12/2020 on https://map.droneguide.be.

Transition period for the use of DSA between 18/12/2020 and 31/12/2021

DSA will be made available in a phased approach.

DSA VERSION 1
The version launched on December 31st will only allow for flight authorisation requests in the VLL2 of each CTR as well as the Kortrijk EBKT RMZ2, being the subzones further away from the airports.
Flight authorisation requests for flights taking place within these zones can be submitted on DSA as late as three hours in advance and will be evaluated instantaneously.
Although the DSA tool will only be made available as of December 31st, 2020 you will therefore still be able to submit flight authorisation request and have them instantaneously evaluated with a go/no-go decision even for flights planned as early as January 1st 2021.

For flights planned close to the airport in the more critical zones VLL1&VLL0 of the CTRs and the Kortrijk EBKT RMZ2 flight authorisation requests need be submitted up to 15 days in advance. That is why, to ensure the continuity of drone flights in the period until January 31st, 2021, we foresee the possibility to already submit flight authorization requests before December 31st 2020 , using an alternative web-form authorisation process via the e-form below.

  • For flights in zones “VLL0”, this will be possible starting from December 15th, 2020
  • For flights in zones “VLL1” and “EBKT RMZ2”, this will be possible starting from December 22nd, 2020

Again, please note that this is only applicable for flights taking place within the UAS Geographical Zones named “VLL0”, “VLL1” and “EBKT RMZ2” and only for flights planned to occur before January 31st, 2020.

DSA VERSION 2
As of January 31st an updated version will be made available to support all flight authorisations requests in all VLL and EBKT subzones.

In a nutshell:

More questions?