Sarah Nilsson JD, PhD, MAS
Sarah NilssonJD, PhD, MAS


May 23, 2019 - More Access to Airspace to Fly Drones



April 30, 2018 - The FAA expands LAANC 

that will ultimately provide near real-time processing of airspace authorization requests for UAS operators nationwide - this is a nationwide beta test of  LAANC the that will deploy the system incrementally at nearly 300 air traffic facilities covering approximately 500 airports - this beta expansion follows successful evaluation of a prototype LAANC system last November when these first facilities took part - the final deployment will begin on September 13.

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. Beginning April 16, the FAA also began considering agreements with additional entities to provide LAANC services. 

The FAA and industry are working together to develop and deploy LAANC applications, which will help set the global standard for a safe, and efficient uncrewed traffic management system. It is an important step in developing the UAS Traffic Management System (UTM).


FAA UAS Data Exchange

The FAA UAS Data Exchange is an innovative, collaborative approach between government and private industry facilitating the sharing of airspace data between the two parties. Under the FAA UAS Data Exchange umbrella the agency will support multiple partnerships, the first of which is the Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability.


Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC)

The UAS Data Exchange facilitates LAANC by providing airspace data to industry so that they can create the tools needed to benefit the drone community. LAANC is the industry developed application through which you may apply for an airspace authorization or notify the Air Traffic Control Tower of your intended flight plans.

Airspace data is provided through the UAS facility maps (UASFMs). The maps show the maximum altitude around airports where the FAA may authorize operations under the small UAS rule. Industry will provide these operators the ability to interact with the maps and provide automatic notification and authorization requests to the FAA. A prototype evaluation with FAA approved UAS Service Providers will take place in Fall 2017—Spring 2018. The evaluation involves 10 Air Traffic facilities and nearly 50 airports. A National Beta test will launch in 2018. The beta will continue to evolve and expand the number of ATC facilities and UAS Service Suppliers.

There will be two ways to apply for an airspace authorization. Neither process requires the operator to contact an Air Traffic Control Tower:

  • using the current process; or
  • applying through a FAA approved UAS Service Supplier.


FAA Facilities participating in LAANC - Initial Prototype Evaluation - Fall 2017


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