LAANC—which is the FAA’s initiative to open up more controlled airspace to commercial drone operators and speed up the authorization approval process—is steadily expanding across the US. This is a major development for the commercial drone industry: when LAANC is fully rolled out, it will make up to 78,000 miles of airspace easily accessible, approximately 500 airports across the country.
That’s why we partnered with the FAA to host a webinar about LAANC, so commercial drone pilots like you can learn more about the initiative, why it matters, and when it’s coming to your area. We had a ton of great questions from attendees, so we’ve answered the most popular ones in this post to help you get up to speed.
Want to see the webinar for yourself? Watch the recording!
Q: When is LAANC coming to my area?
A: LAANC will be fully rolled out across the US by September 2018. Here’s a map to show the key rollout dates:
The FAA will publish the list of states and specific airports on the LAANC website as the capability is rolled out. On April 30th, for example, you will be able to see which specific airports in the Central South Region can offer LAANC.
Q: It appears that LAANC will eliminate the need to submit authorization and waiver requests. Is that correct?
A: It definitely will reduce the need to submit airspace authorization requests through the FAA Drone Zone, at least in areas where LAANC is available. For other areas, or waivers, you’ll still need use the Drone Zone and follow the standard approval process.
Q: Is a software platform such as 3DR Site Scan required to get approvals through LAANC?
A: There are currently only four approved LAANC UAS Service Suppliers: AirMap, Skyward, Project Wing, and Rockwell Collins, with more coming soon. You can find more information on LAANC service suppliers here.
3DR is able to offer LAANC to our customers because we’ve integrated our Site Scan application with AirMap. Pilots can use the Site Scan Field app to plan their flights and get digital authorization in a matter of minutes.
Q: Is it possible to request authorization in “0” grids, or is this best done through Drone Zone?
A: You can request authorization in “0” grids using LAANC, as long as your operation is below 400 feet. If it’s above 400 feet, you need to apply for a waiver through the FAA Drone Zone.
Q: is LAANC specific to flying for construction, or can it be used to get authorization for videography or other purposes?
A: While the LAANC integration in Site Scan is largely used by our customers in construction and engineering, that’s not all that LAANC is limited to. Any commercial drone operator can fully use and benefit from LAANC—not just those in construction.
Q: How long does it typically take for authorization up to 400 feet within controlled airspace?
A: Authorizations within any allowable UASFM altitudes can be, and often are, processed in near real time. In fact, out of the 3,500 authorizations processed through LAANC, over 90% of them were done in near real-time.
Q: Can you request an authorization for a specific date and time through LAANC, or can you only do it on-site when you want to fly?
A: You’re free to do either! You can submit a request for airspace authorization through LAANC up to 90 days in advance, which is a big help when planning your flights and making sure you’re able to fly. Or, if you have to get on-site to fly at the last minute, fast approvals through LAANC can make that possible.
Q: How can I reach out to the FAA directly with specific questions?
A: If you have a question about LAANC or anything else that relates to FAA drone regulation, please contact the FAA at UAShelp@faa.gov or call 844-FLY-MY-UA.
Q: Where can I find a recording of the 3DR + FAA webinar about LAANC?
A: Right here. Enjoy!