The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) outlines how, when, and where recreational flyers can fly their drones in accordance with Section 349 of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 . Among other rules, the FAA has mandated that recreational users may not “fly in controlled airspace (around and above many airports)” in most cases.

There are over 878,000* registered recreational flyers in the United States, and the majority of these operators live in cities, densely populated areas served by airports in controlled airspace. That means that much of the airspace has been largely off-limits to recreational flyers, even in low-risk areas.

The good news is that earlier this year, the FAA announced Section 44809 to replace Part 101E regulations. As part of this change, FAA is upgrading its LAANC (Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability) system to allow recreational flyers to request automated airspace authorizations to fly in controlled airspace. AirMap is an FAA-approved LAANC UAS Service Supplier, which pilots can use to receive near-instant approval to fly in US controlled airspace. Previously, the LAANC system was only available for certified Part 107 drone pilots. Now, recreational users can use the AirMap for Drones app to request and receive similar approvals.

This means that recreational flyers in the United States can now request access to operate their drones in controlled airspace around and above many airports, near their homes, parks, and other favorite places to fly.

Requesting authorization is easy. Follow these steps to get started:

Step 1: Log in to the AirMap app on Web, iOS, or Android.

Step 2: Select the “FAA Recreational Flyers – 44809” ruleset.

Step 3: Search for a nearby LAANC-enabled airport. Pan and zoom until you see the individual grids within the airspace ring.

Step 4: Create a flight plan. Click the “+” on the web app or long-hold in the mobile app to create a flight plan within or across any grid that shows an orange bar over a number.** That number represents the maximum allowable altitude for flights receiving automated LAANC authorization in controlled airspace.

Step 5: Complete the Preflight Checklist and review your Flight Brief for any rules you may be violating. Here you can view the status for your authorization request. Once confirmed, select “Submit” to request LAANC authorization for the associated flight plan.

If your flight plan is approved by the FAA upon submission, you will receive an SMS message with a confirmation number, which will be used by the FAA for identifying the flight. You can also view your authorization confirmation in the Flight Brief view of the AirMap app. If necessary, you can download a LAANC Notice of Authorization as a PDF directly from the app.

LAANC is available for FAA Part 107 and FAA Recreational Flyers at 591 airports across the United States. AirMap powers more LAANC requests than any other provider. We have been an FAA-approved LAANC provider since the program’s inception almost two years ago. That makes AirMap the #1 choice for drone operators requesting LAANC.

* As of January 2018
** Airspace grids showing a red bar over the maximum altitude do NOT offer LAANC access under “FAA Recreational Flyers – 44809” rules.

Join our “All About LAANC for Recreational Flyers” Webinar

Sign up for an in-depth overview of how to get authorization to fly in controlled airspace in seconds. AirMap Product Manager Sean Coleman will be joined by special guest Mark Denicuolo, Deputy Vice President, Program Management Organization, from the Federal Aviation Administration to answer your questions about everything LAANC.

Space is limited. Register today.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

11:00 am PDT

30 – 45 mins

Register Now

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  • Do you fly drones commercially? Check out our “Everything you need to know about LAANC” webinar for more information on LAANC for commercial drone operations under Part 107.

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