Last week the FAA shared a timeline for rolling out LAANC capabilities throughout the U.S.
This is huge news, because it means that instant airspace authorizations are coming nationwide.
After the rollout is complete, pilots who want to operate in controlled airspace where LAANC has been turned on will be able to get immediate permission to do so, instead of having to submit an airspace authorization request and wait up to 90 days for an answer.
This week, right on the heels of that good news, DroneBase announced the integration of LAANC capabilities into their app through deep linking with AirMap.
This new integration means that DroneBase pilots will now be able to get instant airspace authorizations to fly in controlled airspace in those areas where LAANC is already in place (you can see a full list of those airports here). It also means that, as LAANC capabilities are turned on in other areas over the next year, instant airspace authorizations will be available to DroneBase pilots right away within the DroneBase app.
Why This Is a Big Deal
We spoke recently to Nick Osgood, Head of Operations at DroneBase, who told us that adding LAANC capabilities to their app was critical for both pilots and customers.
For pilots who have missions in restricted airspace, it means the skies are more open so that they can fly missions right away (where LAANC is available, of course). For customers who need work done in restricted airspace, it means they can get quick service, and aren’t faced with the delays and uncertainty that come with waiting on a pilot to go through the manual airspace authorization process.
The problem that DroneBase pilots often face, which is common for all drone service providers, is that potential customers often want to receive services right away.
For instance, if a large insurance company is trying to process a large number of insurance claims following a storm, there will be a big demand in that area for aerial data on the houses where people have made claims.
But if any of those houses are within five miles of an airport, the pilot can’t fly, and has to submit a request for airspace authorization.
Having to tell a potential customer that you may not be able to fly for three more months means that you may lose the business to someone who already has authorization, or to someone who is willing to fly illegally (of course, the latter isn’t usually the case when dealing with bigger companies, but it’s still a scenario that certified commercial drone pilots run into).
LAANC is a game-changer for DroneBase because it opens up locations that were previously difficult to fly in due to regulations and airspace restrictions. Even though many of our drone flights would have never impacted manned aircraft, the sheer proximity of certain locations to nearby airports made it impossible to fly.
– Nick Osgood, DroneBase Head of Operations
As LAANC capabilities get rolled out throughout the U.S., DroneBase pilots will be able to work in those areas that fall within restricted airspace immediately. And this is a good thing. It means more work for certified pilots, and more incentives for compliance among customers who are eager to have their aerial services processed quickly.
How Does It Work
DroneBase pilots will now be able to get automatic airspace authorizations within their DroneBase app in those areas where LAANC capabilities have been turned on.
(Want to learn more about becoming a DroneBase pilot? Check out this article.)
If you’re in an area with LAANC-enabled airspace, the DroneBase app will take you through the approval process. In most cases, according to DroneBase, pilots will receive automatic approval in a matter of seconds.
The instant authorizations work through AirMap’s LAANC Deep Linking capability, which essentially allows drone pilots to transfer flight plan information between AirMap and any other integrated app.
Six companies have now integrated with AirMap to provide LAANC capabilities: 3DR, Betterview, Control Tower, DroneDeploy, Measure, and DroneBase.
On a related note, last week the FAA shared that they’ll be accepting applications from other companies who would like to provide LAANC capabilities themselves from April 16 to May 16.
This will certainly open things up even further when it comes to making instant airspace authorizations accessible to all drone pilots. For now AirMap’s Deep Linking is helping to share access to LAANC, and DroneBase’s pilots and customers are the latest group to benefit from that access.