To fly your drone in controlled airspace near the airports requires you to submit a request for FAA to authorize your flight plans. The process can be quite cumbersome as it takes up to 90 days to get approved. However, in the recent projects that aim at speeding up the process to near real-time. The Federal Aviation of Administration just granted permission to nine organizations, including DJI to process authorizations in near real-time.
What is LAANC?
LAANC is an abbreviation for Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability. The program launched this year is an effort to collaborate with the FAA and drone industry to provide real-time authorizations for drone operators who have Part 107 certification. At the moment, the process to fly within the controlled airspace is very restrictive.
Licensed drone operators (Part 107) have to request a wavier or use the Airmap app to obtain authorization from the FAA. But for those who don’t use the app have to fill out a ridiculous long application. Essentially, this program aims at reducing the processing time by diverting the applications to these nine approved drone industries. In this case, the nine drone industries that are certified by the FAA are DJI, Aeronyde, Airbus, AiRXOS, Altitude Angel, Converge, KittyHawk, UASidekick and Unify.
As I previously stated, the process should be automated. Authorized companies such as DJI will be able to authorize the flight plans in real-time before you prepare to takeoff. Before the introduction of LAANC, drone operators who use their quadcopters for productive work had to wait for months to get approved. Even if the weather is clear and safety was prioritized.
Now, LAANC allows drone operators to fly a drone in airports with more than 2,000 square miles. Including populated areas that will benefit immensely from drone operators. More than 100,000 certified drone pilots will be able to perform flights from surveys to inspections to photography with near-instant approval.
How Does It Work?
To obtain authorization to fly in restricted airspace, they can be granted to flight plans with an altitude below 400 feet. Additionally, the drone pilots can request to fly above the altitude level using the LAANC system.
As of current, the details and timeline are unknown. But the airspace authorization should likely happen on dedicated apps or through DJI GO App for DJI. The nature of this implies a response from the system should take minutes instead of months. According to the FAA, they stated that if the application gets approved. They should get authorization in near real-time.
Who Is Covered by LAANC System?
As of now, 500 airports are covered by LAANC. That also includes major class B and C airspaces such as Miami International, Greater Rochester International, Chicago O’Hare and more to name a few. But the FAA warns that LAANC capability is in beta stage throughout 2018.
A list of facilities that partakes in the system might change during the test. As of a result, the locations will change. But the goal remains the same to minimize the processing time and making it easier for certified drone operators to get authorizations.
Flying Drones In Airspace Got A Lot Easier
While it is easier to fly drones in the airspace, drone operators still have to obtain authorizations from these nine certified drone industries. The process shouldn’t take that long and will only take a few minutes. Usually, there are prerequisites that drone operators need to have before they can fly drones in restricted areas.
As the U.S government is taking a hardline stance against drones, permitting the federal agencies to shoot down the drones. It is important to obtain flight authorizations legally in advance. By notifying and getting the authorizations will serve as protection against unwarranted threats and legal troubles.
Generally, the process to obtain authorization consists of a few questions about the flight plans such as: how high will you fly the drone, are you Part 107, and how long will you fly? I use the Airmap app and it is very easy to get authorization as long as you are a certified drone operator. I think diverting the authorization process to reputable drone industries is a great idea.
Not only these certified drone industries are well known, but they also have a reputation for promoting safe flights and training. But most importantly, certified drone pilots shouldn’t have to wait months just to get authorized. Now, with this system being implemented. Drone pilots can easily ask for authorization to perform on important projects. What do you think of this? Is it a good thing or not? Let us know by dropping a comment below.