Recreational drone pilots in the United States can now obtain near-instant authorization from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to fly in controlled airspace near approximately 600 airports.
This opens an estimated 2,000 square miles of airspace to safe and responsible recreational drone pilots, just as such authorizations were first made available to professional drone pilots last year.
Recent changes in the law require recreational drone pilots to obtain authorization to fly in controlled airspace. This replaces the prior requirement of notifying nearby airports. The FAA’s Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) system identifies locations in controlled airspace where drone operations are considered so safe that approvals can be granted automatically below specified altitudes.
LAANC is the Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability. It’s how drone operators can access controlled airspace.
Pilots can use LAANC to discover these locations, plan flights, file applications and receive immediate approvals. LAANC also provides information about those flights to the FAA’s Air Traffic Control facilities, improving situational awareness and enhancing aviation safety.
“Opening the LAANC system to recreational drone pilots is an important step in the FAA’s efforts to safely integrate drones into American skies by providing innovative solutions to regulatory requirements.”Brendan Schulman, DJI Vice President of Policy & Legal Affairs
DJI recommends recreational drone pilots obtain LAANC authorizations through Kittyhawk. Kittyhawk will offer LAANC service to recreational pilots for free, to help encourage hobbyists to do more with drone technology and consider professional and career opportunities with drones.
The free Kittyhawk app is available to download for iOS and Android by following the links on this page. Drone pilots will be asked whether they are seeking professional (Part 107) or recreational (Section 44809) LAANC authorization and the app will route their requests accordingly.
The FAA approved DJI as a LAANC UAS Service Supplier last year, which will in the future allow DJI professional and recreational customers to use DJI solutions to seamlessly apply for LAANC approvals when planning flights. Further details on LAANC services currently under development by DJI will be announced in due course.