First things first, what is LAANC?
LAANC is the Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability, a collaboration between FAA and Industry. It directly supports UAS integration into the airspace.
It provides access to controlled airspace near airports through near real-time processing of airspace authorizations below approved altitudes in controlled airspace.
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, this 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 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 may be approved for drone operations.
How do i check if LAANC applies to my job area?
When flying in the US, operators can use the 'Part 107' map filter, situated in the bottom left hand side of the job map.
Once selected, FAA pre approved zones will be displayed on the map where altitude restrictions can be inspected.
Dronecloud automatically checks if LAANC is applicable in your area by checking whether your flight area intersects with any of the FAA's pre approved flight areas (PAFA). When this is the case, then the 'Max height' displayed in the advisories section will automatically set to the lowest intersecting PAFA value (so if your flight crosses over multiple PAFA grids, your max height will default to the lowest value). It is essential that any LAANC application you make to the FAA should always fall within the designated restriction, any flight application for a height exceeding the altitude restriction will not be approved and written permission will need to be sought through the traditional application process.
Setting up the airmap app and registering an account
Dronecloud utilises the 'Airmap for drones' mobile app for onsite LAANC application. To download the app, click the link relevant to your device.
Once you have the app installed, you will need to create an account with airmap. This can be done either by completing the registration in app, or by visiting their webpage.
Applying for LAANC authorization
The authorizations section of your flight plan will specify if a LAANC approval is applicable to your flight area. To start the request, simply click the ‘Request an authorization link’ button. Once selected, an email link will be sent to your email address. You will need to open the email on the mobile or tablet device where you have installed your airmap app.
Simply select the "Start authorization" link in the email to launch the airmap app. You job polygon and 'max altitude' details will be imported from dronecloud, allowing for a quick application in the airmap app.
If you require further support information for the airmap app, please click here.