The drone market is exploding. Between August 2016 and July 2018, the FAA reported that 100,000 enthusiasts have obtained a Remote Pilot Certificate to fly a drone for commercial and recreational use.
This increase in licensed drone pilots is primarily driven by drone adoption in agriculture, energy, construction, and insurance. As companies like MetLife and Travelers are deploying drones in the insurance claims process for gathering imagery, increasing numbers of recreational pilots are completing the FAA certification to fly commercially.
Under the Code of Federal Regulations Part 107 guidelines, pilots who are certified can pilot a drone commercially and operate in controlled airspace near airports; a frequent occurrence as airports are often located in major metropolitan areas.
The FAA service for granting airspace authorization in controlled airspace and is formally known as LAANC, The Low Altitude Authorizations and Notifications Capability.
Each airport in the United States must choose whether to participate in LAANC. Many unmanned or regional airports do not support LAANC due to lack of personnel or equipment. You can find the complete list of participating airports here.
What Is LAANC?
An optional FAA Program
The Low Altitude Authorizations and Notifications Capability program is optional.
Airports may choose to participate in LAANC, or to manage their Low Altitude airspace manually through radar. If an airport is participating in LAANC, the FAA automates the application and approval process using automated applications.
Pilots can get assistance in applying for an airspace authorization using an FAA Approved third-party called a UAS Service Suppliers (USS).
Requests are checked against multiple airspace data sources in the FAA UAS Data Exchange such as temporary flight restrictions, NOTAMs and the UAS Facility Maps. If approved, pilots receive their authorization in near-real time.
There are some drone operations that are not covered by Part 107 and will require a waiver. Here are some common examples of Part 107 sections that are subject to waiver:
- Operation from a moving vehicle or aircraft (§ 107.25) *
- Daylight operation (§ 107.29)
- Visual line of sight aircraft operation (§ 107.31) *
- Visual observer (§ 107.33)
- Operation of multiple small unmanned aircraft systems (§ 107.35)
- Yielding the right of way (§ 107.37(a))
- Operation over people (§ 107.39)
- Operation in certain airspace (§ 107.41)
- Operating limitations for small unmanned aircraft (§ 107.51)
An Automated Process
Loveland Innovations partners with Airmap.com to provide LAANC waivers to their customers. By filling out 5-minute application through the IMGING app, pilots flying in controlled airspace can receive a LAANC authorization and quickly get back to flying. Once the application is submitted, the approval process takes less than 5 minutes. You may even receive a text message from the FAA notifying you that they got you LAANC request. Once you receive your authorization, the IMGING app will automatically import it to your mobile device and unlock your drone. You can then proceed to fly as normal.
Why You Need Authorizations to Fly
In general, drone solutions are a great way to gather imagery, maneuver a drone close to structures, snap damage photos, and in many cases, thoroughly document a property.
The problem is that the average pilot may not have the knowledge or skills to operate safely in controlled airspace. Certainly, drones are great tools but only if they can consistently fly safely. LAANC helps standard drone operations and mitigates the risk of a drone collision by providing FAA flight controllers with locations and heights of drone flights. This information can then be used to divert airport traffic and/or notify inbound/outbound flights to drone traffic.
As drones enter the mainstream, official statements from the DHS(Department of Homeland Security) have prohibited drones manufactured outside the US from operating on DOD property. LAANC helps protect National Security national security sites from invasion by denying authorizations that are requested in their airspace.
Receiving LAANC Authorization in IMGING
An automated drone platform doesn’t just take photos. It redefines the way carriers can process claims by automating portions of the workflow, ensuring consistency, and making processes easy, reputable, and sharable. IMGING provides a safe and reliable process for applying for a LAANC waiver. By integrating with Airmap, IMGING can provide near-realtime authorizations.
LAANC waivers can be obtained through a web browser by visiting app.airmap.io.
Simply create an Airmap account, register your drone, and then file LAANC authorization forms as needed.
You will be asked for the following information to file your LAANC authorization form.
- Flight Location/Perimeter
- Date & Time
- Pilot & Aircraft
- Is the drone registered?
- Has the pilot in command obtained a US Part 107 certification?
- Does the drone have anti-collision lighting?
- Have you completed your preflight check for airworthiness and communications connectivity?
- Is the flight occurring within visual line of sight (VLOS)?
- What is the maximum speed of the flight?
- What is the expected visibility at takeoff?
- What is the weight of the drone?
After filling out these required fields you will submit the flight plan by pushing Brief Flight Plan.
While completing the pre-flight check, make sure to select I’ve received authorization to let IMGING know you have already filed an LAANC authorization through Airmap.
Airmap Through IMGING
If you are opting to file your LAANC waivers on the go, you can do so through the IMGING app. Simply connect your drone and navigate to the pre-flight checklist for the scan you want to fly.
Under the Airspace section, click Get Authorization to start the Airmap waiver process.