You may be a new drone owner, or maybe you’re an experienced pilot, but one thing everyone should know before they fly their drone, is it safe to fly? The most important aspect of safety is the airspace you plan to fly in.
For many, this has been through manual authorization requests to fly in airspace controlled by airports. Reaching out to an ATC to request their permission to fly in controlled airspace requires that a pilot must provide adequate time for the authorization request to be reviewed and a safety justification provided for flying in the controlled airspace.
The FAA has made this process easier by creating the Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability or “LAANC” program, eliminating the need for manual airspace authorization requests, in 600 locations up to 400 feet.
What is LAANC?
The FAA states “LAANC automates the application and approval process for airspace authorizations. Through automated applications developed by an FAA Approved UAS Service Suppliers (USS) pilots apply for an airspace authorization.” (https://www.faa.gov/uas/programs_partnerships/data_exchange/)
What does this mean to a pilot? It means you can request and get authorizations to fly, often in real-time. It also allows for requests to be made up to 90 days out, so you can request and receive your authorizations to fly in advance, and drinking beer know much earlier than you with a manual request. Also, pilots will be kept informed of the status of airspace, when they have received authorization, and if the status of the airspace changes, for example when a Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) is added.
But wait. It gets better.
Did you know that when you use a UAS Service Supplier (USS) provided LAANC authentication request, as a Part 107 pilot you can also have them request and manage Further Coordination requests on your behalf? You can make simple airspace requests to fly above-defined ceilings inside of Controlled Airspace, and let the USS manage the request to the FAA LAANC system, the authorization (or denial) of the request, and provide you with simple notifications of the outcome.
More Than Just LAANC-enabled Controlled Airspace
USS LAANC systems are not only limited to providing authorizations inside of LAANC-enabled controlled airspace but can also provide authorizations to fly in other areas of the country, using the FAA-provided airspace data. Making use of the USS LAANC system can ensure that you do not fly inside of FAA controlled airspace unaware. Airspace data such as Special Use Airspace, Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFRs) and Notices to Airmen (NOTAMs), often are defined outside of the LAANC enabled airspace.
Using the USS LAANC system, they will not only check for you at the time of the request, if you are permitted to fly in your intended airspace, but they will also track changes to airspace data and inform you if you have an intended flight which can no longer be authorized and so that you do not inadvertently fly somewhere you shouldn’t.
LAANC Rolling Out Fast
Did you know that the FAA is also working hard to roll out additional LAANC enabled airspace in 2020 and 2021, which will permit recreational and commercial pilots to request and receive authorization to fly safely in over 140 new locations?
Flying drones can be a lot of fun, and commercial use cases can provide many business benefits. But flying safely under FAA guidelines and rules, and using the available resources that they have worked hard to provide is vital so that everyone can continue to enjoy their drones.
If you didn’t know, we are pretty “drone savvy” here at Web Teks!
Contact us today if you have any questions, want to discuss LAANC, or any other UAS topic.