The Federal Aviation Administration is looking to streamline the application process for commercial drone operators looking to fly within restricted airspace. The regional roll-out of the new Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability system reduces the approval time from several months to near instantaneously. This is a huge change from the ponderous, manual approval system in use at the vast majority of airports in the country.
The FAA has released a list of the locations participating in the prototyping phase of LAANC. Within these locations, commercial drone operators will be able to use either the Skyward or AirMap applications to file a flight plan and apply for approval through the system. Assuming there are no further restrictions, and that the information is filed correctly, the drone pilot should receive authorization soon after. If there is a reason manual approval is still required, the wait time will still be significantly reduced.
LAANC is the first component of the FAA’s stated desire to establish an Unmanned Traffic Management system for use by commercial drone operators. The UTM will one day facilitate the free flow of information between thousands of drone pilots, similar to the air traffic control system in use with commercial flights today.