The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recently published notice in the Federal Register seeking permission to quicken authorizations for Part 107 unmanned aircraft system (UAS) operations in restricted areas. The FAA wishes to use the Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) system for authorizations which would give the FAA the ability “to grant near-real time authorizations for the vast majority of operations” which includes “Class B, Class C, or Class D airspace or within the lateral boundaries of the surface area of Class E airspace designated for an airport unless that person has prior authorization from Air Traffic Control (ATC).”

The LAANC system will soon be used at 50 U.S. airports, which will give drone operators the ability “to apply for instant, digital approval to fly in U.S. controlled airspace using the same applications they use for flight planning and in-flight situational awareness.” according to AirMap.

The notice further explains that “operations that are relatively simple will go through LAANC’s automated approval process while more complex operations that require a more thorough review by FAA subject matter experts (SME) will go through the FAA’s DroneZone electronic portal.”

Airspace authorization requests have skyrocketed since Part 107 went into effect, precipitating the FAA’s request. The wait time between submission and approval has extended due to the growing number of requests, leading some drone operators to resort to non-compliant operations. With the LAANC system running requests, the FAA hopes to dramatically reduce wait times to as little as five minutes per request, leading to safer operating practices.