DJI No Fly Zones different from NATS

Went to try and snag a photo of a steam train today and having carefully planned out the mission (or at least I thought), turned up at the following site:

NATS shows it as outside the LHR ATZ/FRZ and far enough away from HMP Bronzefield so I thought I would be able to at least hover high enough to get a good video.

On arrival at the site however, the controller stated I was in a No Fly Zone and wouldn’t let me take off.

After I got home this evening I figured out that DJI have a more stringent set of NFZ’s

The steam train trundled on by at the same time as a regular commuter train was heading into London… :man_facepalming: Nice site to see the train though… Snagged this whilst holding the drone (discovered that the photo and video buttons work without the screen connected too!) but it’s not usable in the treasure hunt as she wasn’t flying when captured…




The Drone Scene FRZ shows the same area as your NATS app:

Did you have no option to override / ignore the DJI restriction?

Initially, it flashed up the “fly with caution” box, which I check marked that I accepted responsibility. I managed to get the drone airborne for about 30 seconds. I am guessing but I think that’s how long it took to “sync” it’s location with DJI as it then flashed up “In No Fly Zone”. The app reported LHR-FRZ and the drone started an automated landing procedure. After a quick change of underwear, I tried wandering around the field but consistently got “you aren’t taking this bird into the sky, sonny” so went on to find a drop circle instead!

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Looking at the DJI geo map on their web site, it looks like anything in blue can be unlocked:

Sorry - you’re right - it did give me the option to enter an unlock code (which I didn’t have obviously)

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Coincidentally, I was comparing DJI Geofencing tonight as I may have a job near a military site. The site is blocked out in Blue on the DJI app, but only a yellow warning on NATS.

Yet my local Aerodrome, which has a NFZ, is not shown with any geo fencing on the DJI Geo fencing.

Am I missing something?

Is this just a case of DJI playing catch up and erring on the side of caution with larger buffer zones? As a business, it’s probably the best way to stay on the good side of public perception?

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But I don’t understand why the airdrome FRZ is not shown?

I’d hazard a guess that DJI are building their ‘map’ based largely on data that’s being fed back from their drone users. Once someone triggers an alert against the NATS db, they update their own db. Perhaps no one has flown close to that aerodrome yet with a dji product?

That’s an easy one. Thorney Island is no longer considered an active uk airfield. Nor has it been for some years.

It continues to be assigned two ICAO codes (one military, one civil) EGUV and EGYT. But these don’t appear in any current listings.

List of airports in the United Kingdom and the British Crown Dependencies

Without checking every entry, I believe the only airport’s that gain FRZ status are those on NATS’ UK AIPs (Aeronautical Information Publications) …

Aerodromes published in the UK AIP

Thorney Island is in blue/yellow in the above maps because of its military status.

But, coming back to the crux of the issue, there is (and always had been) a mismatch between DJI zones and UK legal restrictions.

Chances are this goes back to DJI implementing a global policy of safety rather than matching local legislation in every detail.

The current DJI Geo Zones, that include the rising base in line with runways, were implemented globally … but there’s no way every county is doing the same thing as far as local legislation.

I doubt DJI’s Geo Zones will ever match local requirements, either, since updates would be so frequent as to piss off everyone. Whenever they updated for any country, everyone in the whole world would need to update.

Perhaps they could introduce a country-by-country update system. But I can’t see that being implemented retrospectively to existing products, and the cost to them going forward to accurately maintain for all countries would be a hugely expensive.

So, I reckon were stuck with their simplistic global approach that will tend to ignore smaller airfields (Chichester/Goodwood) and impose a generous protection (cynically, to their name more than aircraft/passengers?) around larger airport’s with scheduled flights.

One of the issues with them extending their coverage to smaller airfields (and let’s not forget this would happen globally, not just for little old UK) is data/memory. It all has to be stored in the drone’s memory. Who wants to pay for a recreational drone where (perhaps) 25% of the cost becomes the physical inclusion of adequate memory into the drone to store, and the financial burden of creating/maintaining/delivering, a global database for every potential hazard? Our drones would end up with more of such data than an Airbus A380!


Thanks for the comprehensive reply Dave , but I think my question got lost on the thread.

DJI Geofencing is surprisingly out of date in the sense that Chichester/ Goodwood Aerodrome has no Geofencing at all, yet the world war 2 airfield at Tangmere is! I would have thought that DJI would have all the FRZs on the system by now, it’s not that difficult!

I can understand about Thorney, was just using it as a comparison for Chichester.

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Ah - you didn’t mention Tangmere previously. :wink:

But, again, it’s the military aspect that has it geofenced by DJI … “Military Zone”.


Shoreham / Bembridge / Sandown / London Ashford - none of these have a DJI geofence either, like Chichester/Goodwood.

There are a number of active airfields that are the same … mainly those with no commercial/scheduled activity.

I’m not sure that “out of date” is the term. They seem not to bother with smaller airfields.

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Tangmere has been closed since the war!

As an airfield, yes. But there must be something there from the military point of view. They are not geofencing it as an airfield.

But these are the ones where you are much more likely to have a conflict in the air. Everyone knows to stay away from the big ones, well they should!

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I wouldn’t disagree. But there are a large number just in the UK. Let’s face it - those are all in S/SE England … just happen to be ones I know because I’ve flown into them, and could check quickly.

I think the problem is, as I say above, to include them all globally would probably require more memory than existing models have - and perhaps more than they will be willing to include in the future.

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After all their promises, DJI are going to be embarrassed if there is a problem and their system is net set up!

Just USA …


… excluding unpaved airfields like Goodwood

Globally? Goodness knows how many. They cannot be held responsible for every single one.

It will be interesting if someone is flying in a DJI designated “Clear of NFZ” area and, the person who has flown there ends up in trouble with the authorities, because of a conflict of the various maps available to us.
One could argue “Well I abided by the DJI App, what more can I do”
I see a lot of potential “Egg” on someone’s face !.
I agree with Dave, it would be a monstrous task to do every single Airport, regardless of size.
But, someone has to set down definitive areas that we can/cannot fly, and all the Apps must have the same information.
At the moment it’s like looking at “Cow Shit” spread in the fields!.

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They will be if it happens in the uk!

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