In the United States, FAA-certified remote pilots operating under Part 107 regulation require authorization to fly in controlled (Class B, C, D, surface-E) airspace. Currently, the authorization process involves contacting the ATC tower, though that is often discouraged, or submitting an online form and waiting up to 90 days for a response.
Recognizing the need for a more efficient authorization process, the FAA recently announced the Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) system. This initiative identifies zones near airports which are eligible for pre-approved flights at specified altitudes.
The FAA recently released UAS Facility Maps defining these areas for some US airports. Part 107 operators should refer to these maps when following standard notification and authorization procedures, tailoring requests to align with areas on the maps that are likely to be approved for drone operations. Fly for fun operators are still required to notify the airport before flight.
UAS Facility Maps are viewable on AirMap as blue rectangular zones at participating airports and listed in the “Special Use Airspace” advisory list. Each zone refers to a different maximum permissible altitude for drone flights. Click on a zone to view the maximum allowed altitude.
LAANC is here with AirMap and the FAA UAS Facility Maps, where remote pilots can learn more about the controlled airspace in which they intend to operate and adjusting their flight plans to fit within those requirements, drastically minimizing the time it takes for FAA approval. And soon, LAANC will evolve into a digital and automated process, with instantaneous authorization on the AirMap platform.
To learn more about the UAS Facility Maps released by the FAA, click here: