AirMap and Skyward Bring Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) to Commercial Drone Operations
Near real-time processing of FAA airspace authorizations now available on the DroneDeploy App Market
If you’ve ever been faced with flying a mission near a controlled airspace, you know the frustration. The lengthy FAA authorization form. The 90-day backlog. Drones are supposed to streamline your operations and give you real-time data, but there’s nothing streamlined about a 90-day wait period just to fly within five miles of an airport.
The good news: this frustrating backlog is finally coming to an end. DroneDeploy users can now skip the 90-day wait and apply for near real-time airspace authorization from directly within the DroneDeploy platform.
This month, DroneDeploy partners AirMap and Skyward are bringing this new capability to the industry, allowing you to take full advantage of LAANC — the FAA’s new Low-Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability initiative. (More on LAANC in a minute.)
Partnering closely with AirMap, DroneDeploy is one of a handful of early adopters to make the move ahead of the announcement. So what does all of this mean for DroneDeploy customers and the larger drone ecosphere? And what do you need to know to take advantage of it?
DroneDeploy Users Say Goodbye to FAA Backlogs at Airports
This much-anticipated move has been in the works since late 2017, when the FAA first launched its Low-Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) initiative. LAANC, which is in its BETA phase, allows drone operators to request digital airspace authorizations near selected airports.
AirMap and Skyward are already industry go-to’s for pre-flight airspace advisory checks, and they are some of the first platforms to be approved by the FAA to provide LAANC services. But they understood that for something like LAANC to really move the needle in the commercial drone industry, it had to be available to as many drone operators as possible.
“Based on customer feedback, we know most of their jobs are in controlled airspace and getting access to fly in these areas is one of their largest business pain points,” said Skyward co-president Mariah Scott. “Operators have had to wait 60–90 days to receive authorization under the existing system. Now, with Skyward and LAANC, enterprises can get approval to fly in just two clicks. With this hurdle gone, we can expect to see substantial adoption of drone technology at the enterprise level.”
AirMap’s Digital Airspace Authorizations are a Huge Step forward for DroneDeploy Customers
Needless to say, all of this is a game changer for many commercial drone operators. The three month wait period has been a major barrier for companies wanting to use drones in their operations. No project can just come to a screeching halt while the FAA slowly turns its bureaucratic wheels.
Under the old system, unless a company did some serious planning ahead, projects in controlled airspace were often forced to forgo UAVs altogether and move forward without the benefit of drone data.
Now, DroneDeploy customers not only get to skip the lengthy backlog, but they can do it all without ever leaving the DroneDeploy platform via AirMap’s app thanks to their innovative deep linking integration.
Timeline for the Nationwide LAANC Rollout
As of right now, LAANC is still in its early stages, and it is only available at 46 airports across the US. But the FAA has made a commitment to launch it nationwide by the end of the year.
“With the LAANC beta launching nationwide by the end of the year, [this feature] will bring digital authorization to an entire community of U.S. drone operators and developers eager to reach new heights,” said Ben Marcus, CEO of AirMap. “Thanks to LAANC, more airspace is open for business, and commercial drones have more opportunities contribute to our economy and benefit our daily lives.”
To stay up-to-date on the list of participating airports, check this listing on the FAA’s website.
If you are fortunate enough to work within range of one of these airports, getting started is as easy as adding the AirMap app to your DroneDeploy dashboard.
For everyone else, you’ll have to hold tight for a little longer, but the wait will be worth it. The FAA’s effort toward streamlining airspace authorization is about more than just eliminating a paperwork backlog. It represents a shift toward a landscape that is increasingly responsive to the business needs of commercial drone users. And for those of us who plan to operate drones for years to come, that’s music to our ears.
Where to Learn More
- Read more about AirMap’s LAANC authorization on their blog. Even if you don’t need an airspace authorization, the AirMap app is a great on-the-go tool to check for nearby airspace advisories before each flight.
- Read Skyward’s tutorial for syncing your DroneDeploy flight logs and getting LAANC authorization here. Or watch the tutorial video here. To get started, install the Skyward Sync app in the DroneDeploy App Market.
- Explore more of our top recommended software tools for drone mapping in this post.
- Construction is one of the industries most affected by airspace regulations. If you are a construction professional new to drones, read up on 3 Ways to Improve Communication on Your Job Site with Drones.
Get Started with DroneDeploy
Want to learn how DroneDeploy can help your business? Visit www.dronedeploy.com to start your free trial or request a consultation with one of our team members. The DroneDeploy mobile application is available for free download for both iOS and Android devices.