The U.S. is opening up the airspace for drones.

Yesterday, the FAA released the first set of UAS facility maps for 268 airports nationwide, covering over 40,000 square miles. Eighty-five percent of these areas depict specific areas and altitudes near airports where drones may be authorized to fly safely. More maps are expected to be released in phases over the next 6 months.

These areas are already viewable on AirMap’s iOS, Android, and Web apps in the “Restricted Special Use Airspace” category. Part 107 operators should refer to these maps when following standard notification and authorization procedures, tailoring requests to align with areas on the maps that are likely to be approved for drone operations. Fly for fun operators are still required to notify the airport before flight.

The FAA UAS facility maps are an exciting step towards facilitating Part 107 airspace authorization requests more quickly and efficiently. And soon, the FAA will support automated digital notification and authorization, opening U.S. skies for drone operations at scale.