FAA’s LAANC continues to expand drone programme

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is expanding two important aspects of the Low Altitude Authorization and Capability (LAANC), which automates the application and approval process for drone operators to obtain airspace authorisations.

Four airports – Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, Dulles International Airport, William P Hobby Airport in Houston and Newark Liberty International Airport – have joined the list of approximately 400 air traffic facilities covering about 600 airports where LAANC is available.Access to the service is provided through one of the FAA-approved UAS Service Suppliers. The seven companies listed below are the latest to enter into partnerships with the agency, bringing the total to 21.

  • Airspacelink
  • Avision
  • Botlink
  • Collins Aerospace
  • Drone Up
  • Simulyze
  • Skygrid

LAANC, a collaboration between the FAA and the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) industry that directly supports the safe integration of UAS into the nation’s airspace, expedites the time it takes for drone pilots to receive authorisations to fly under 400 feet in controlled airspace. The service is accessible to all pilots who operate under the FAA’s small drone rule.

LAANC began as a prototype in 2017. To date, there have been more than 170,000 approved authorisations through LAANC. The programme was expanded in July to provide near real-time airspace authorisations to recreational flyers.

The programme’s continued expansion further increases the ability of drone pilots to gain safe and efficient access to controlled airspace nationwide.

* The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is to partner with NASA to hold the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Traffic Management (UTM) Pilot Program (UPP) Phase 2 Industry Workshop on December 9.

Building on UPP Phase 1, UPP Phase 2 will showcase additional technologies, including Remote Identification (ID) and operations with increasing volumes and density. The UPP´s success is dependent upon the ability to work with industry, various FAA Test Sites and IPP participants.

During this half-day workshop, the FAA and NASA will provide participants with an in-depth view of UPP Phase 2, including a walk-through of the Concept of Use, Architecture, Technical and Functional Requirements, and a detailed timeline. UPP Phase 2 partners should be able to support the following capabilities:

  • UAS operations in high density airspace;
  • Remote ID services;
  • USS transmission of flight information to air traffic control due to an off-nominal UTM event;
  • Public safety operations; and, UAS Volume Reservations (UVR) service.

Those interested in more details surrounding the agencies’ plan for partnering with industry for UPP can go to the registration website.