As of this week, April 30, 2018, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) began its beta test of the Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) in the South Central United States. For the list of those facilities in South Central, click here. The system will continue to deploy incrementally throughout the rest of the year at nearly 300 air traffic facilities covering about 500 airports, with the final deployment on September 13. The ‘waves’ are scheduled as follows: May 24 in the Western North, June 21 in the Western South, July 19 in Eastern South, August 16 in the Eastern North, and finally the Central North United States on September 13.
LAANC helps to support the integration of unmanned aerial systems (UAS or drones) into the national airspace. LAANC allows UAS operators with the ability to obtain real-time airspace authorizations from air traffic controllers which greatly decreases the lag time associated with the manual airspace authorization process. LAANC uses airspace data provided through temporary flight restrictions, NOTAMS and UAS facility maps that indicate the maximum altitude around airports where the FAA will authorize UAS operations under Part 107 (the federal small UAS rule).
Additionally, as of April 16, the FAA began reviewing applications from other entities to provide LAANC services (in addition to AirMap, Project Wing, Rockwell Collins, and Skyward). All LAANC supplier applications must be submitted by May 16. for more information on the application process click here.
This is an important step in developing UAS traffic management (UTM) systems. We will continue to monitor the progress of the LAANC beta roll-out through the fall.