Yesterday, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) began the expansion of the system that will allow drone pilots to automatically request permission to fly in managed airspace.
The system, known as LAANC (Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability), will be deployed across 300 aviation facilities including around 500 airports.
The roll out of the first facilities to participate in the beta test are shown below, and the FAA say that the final deployment will begin on September 13.
A press release on the website states:
LAANC helps support the safe integration of drones into the nation’s airspace. Drone operators using the system can receive near real-time airspace authorizations. This dramatically decreases the wait experienced using the manual authorization process and allows operators to quickly plan their flights. LAANC uses airspace data provided through temporary flight restrictions, NOTAMS and UAS facility maps that show the maximum altitude ceiling around airports where the FAA may authorize operations under Part 107.
Starting April 30 in South Central USA, the LAANC will be rolled out across the USA throughout nearly 300 air traffic facilities, including 500 airports.
- Wave 1 April 30, 2018
South Central USA
- Wave 2 May 24, 2018
Western North USA
- Wave 3 June 21, 2018
Western South USA
- Wave 4 July 19, 2018
Eastern South USA
- Wave 5 August 16, 2018
Eastern North USA
- Wave 6 September 13, 2018
Central North USA
For areas that do not yet still have LAANC availability, pilots may either use the current manual process to apply for an authorization to fly in controlled airspace, or wait until the LAANC is available.
The FAA say that they are working together with industry “to develop and deploy LAANC applications, which will help set the global standard for a safe, and efficient unmanned traffic management system. It is an important step in developing the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Traffic Management System (UTM).”
The establishment of the FAA is another important step in the creation of a viable, safe and secure drone industry in the USA, and follows the overwhelming approval of the FAA Reauthorization Bill by the House of Representatives last Friday.