In a few short weeks the drone industry will be taking another leap forward as LAANC (Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability) becomes live nationwide. LAANC allows same day instant access approvals for drone flights in airspace within 5 miles of most airports across the country. This is a critical milestone for the industry at large as the process for receiving waivers in congested airspace is now more streamlined and no longer takes weeks or months for approvals to happen.
Before LAANC, drone pilots conducting commercial operations within airspace five miles of an airport needed to go through a pesky waiver process which could take up to 90 days to receive authorization. Customers in today’s society do not like to wait! Too many drone companies were missing out on potential work in these areas due to the cumbersome waiting game that came with the waiver process. This 90 day process allowed the FAA to play catch up as they figured out ways to streamline the mass increase of drone flights taking place but it didn’t make much sense for us drone pilots and their customers.
For one, this process took the decision away from the local air traffic control tower who is constantly monitoring the airspace and put the decision in the hands of a small group of people in an office hundreds of miles away.
Secondly, part 107 pilots studied and passed a test expressing our knowledge of the airspace but needed to wait 90 days for a commercial operation but yet a hobbyist or kid with a drone could legally fly in the same airspace without the waiver—only because it wasn’t a flight for profit. You can see how this waiver process left many in the drone industry scratching their heads.
LAANC has many firms rejoicing about the possibilities it has opened up with its instant authorizations. This is a positive step forward for the drone industry but there are still many barriers that we must continue to break down—beyond line of site flight, safe operations above humans, and better sense and avoid to name a few. Drone Dispatch loves breaking down barriers and will continue to do its part in pushing drone innovation forward over the years to come.