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DJI Drone Unlock Guide for Drone Pilots

With the rollout of DJI’s GEO 2.0, some of our pilots have reported issues taking off in locations where they had no issues previously. Here are a few common questions we’ve received from pilots with ways to know if you will have issues, and how to troubleshoot them if necessary.

Why the change?

DJI is attempting to provide a geomap that will better mimic the flight paths of planes taking off and landing at airports. Therefore, rather than simple circles around airports or areas of restricted airspace, they’ve opted for a more complex approach with cones leading to and away from runways. In other words, areas that are physically closer to airports may be flyable as long as they aren’t on the flight path. On the other hand, areas that are further out but in the flight path may be restricted or have altitude ceilings.

What does this mean for pilots?

While the change is not necessarily a bad thing, it may be unexpected for pilots who are used to being able to take off as long as they were a certain distance from an airport. In practical terms, pilots may find it necessary to check both AirMap and DJI’s Geo Zone Map site when making flight plans. AirMap, as a LAANC vendor, will tell you if an airspace is restricted and allow you to apply for authorization with the FAA. DJI’s Geo Map will tell you if any special unlock procedures are required to fly at the site.

What happens if I get on-site and my drone won’t take off?

If you’ve already applied for and received unlock confirmation then make sure you have downloaded and toggled on your unlocking license. If you have completed this process already and still cannot fly, then email DJI for assistance at flysafe@dji.com.

If you have not applied for or received unlock confirmation, then you may do so on-site as long as you have a live internet connection. If the area is an authorization zone, apply for a self unlock with your info in the DJI Go App or on the self unlock website. Self unlocks should be instantaneous. If the area is a restricted zone, you should go to the custom unlock website to apply to get your drone unlocked. Per DJI, you should receive a reply to your custom unlock request within 1 hour of submitting it.

Whether you’ve applied in advance or when you get on-site, it’s important to download and toggle on the unlocking license or your drone will not take off.

For specific instructions on unlocking your drone, adding your unlocking license, or other tips, check our the Troubleshooting DJI Geofence Unlocks (GEO 2.0) section of our FAQ.

Tags: Drone Pilots drone tips DJI
Nick Osgood
Nick Osgood

Nick Osgood is the Head of Operations and first hire at DroneBase. He oversees all flight operations and drone pilots. Nick started his career in clean tech, then as a stand-in Director of Finance and Operations for over 15 Silicon Valley startups. He was previously the Treasurer & Director of Finance at StackCommerce where he led all finance, analytics, HR + recruiting, and customer support operations. Nick is the team’s in-house expert on drone industry news, regulations, and safety. He is very involved in the drone pilot community and passionate about growing the nascent drone industry. Nick earned his MBA and BS in Political Science from University of San Diego. He is very involved in the drone pilot community and passionate about growing the nascent drone industry.

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