According to a new post on AOPA, The FAA is in the process of seeking emergency action on drones. In a Federal Register notice published Oct. 11, the FAA sought from the White House Office of Management and Budget authority to put electronic authorization of drone flights in controlled airspace on a fast track. The agency stated that with delays of up to 90 days for approvals, “non-compliant” operations have increased sharply, and the FAA now receives an average of more than 250 drone-related safety reports per month, and about 1,500 over a six-month period.
The FAA implemented Part 107 in August 2016 after a lengthy rulemaking process, and this year began publishing “grids” developed in collaboration with airport tower staff that depict the maximum safe and permissible altitudes for unmanned aircraft operations. The FAA published those maps through an online portal for delivering unmanned aircraft data to aviators, and has long planned to use the UAS maps to automate airspace authorization requests through the Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) system. Remote pilots certificated under Part 107 who submit requests that comport with the published limitations through the current system can expect approval, the FAA has said.
The FAA had expected to take until the end of the year to implement the electronic authorization of LAANC, but the abundance of reported safety incidents and the backlog of airspace authorization requests received online created a logjam that the FAA hopes to clear by expediting the LAANC implementation.
“Due to the pressing safety consideration of reducing safety reports due to non-compliant UAS operations, the FAA cannot wait the normal 90 days of public comment,” the agency stated in the Federal Registernotice Oct. 11. “Therefore, FAA is requesting (Office of Management and Budget) approval of this collection of information 7 days after publication of this Notice in the Federal Register. Upon OMB approval of its Emergency clearance request, FAA will follow the normal clearance procedures for the information collection associated with LAANC.” Continue reading about emergency action from FAA.