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News and Updates – Drone Pilots: Did Your Airspace Authorization Expire on September 30, 2018?

If your airspace authorization expired on September 30, 2018, and you did not receive an airspace authorization extension, you can apply for a new authorization via the Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) or the DroneZone.

There are two ways to obtain an authorization:

1. The quickest and easiest way is through LAANC. An FAA approved UAS Service Supplier (USS) of the Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability grants an airspace authorization* in near real time. A list of USSs is available below. Instructions on how to apply are provided by the individual service provider.

2. Through the DroneZone:

To use the DroneZone you must first set up an account. (If youve already registered your drone, you should login using that account.)

  • Select option to register under the tab Fly sUAS under Part 107.”
  • Register your drone.
  • Under section Part 107 Waivers and Authorizations, follow the instructions to create an authorization application.

Before you apply make sure your read our tips on how to apply.

*LAANC does not support waiver applications, authorizations that are part of a waiver application can only be made in the DroneZone.

News and Updates – Hurricane Michael: Information for Drone Operators

TheFederal Aviation Administration(FAA) is warning drone owners and operators that they will be subject to significant fines that may exceed $20,000 if they interfere with emergency response operations in the areas affected by Hurricane Michael.

Many aircraft that are conducting life-saving missions and other critical response and recovery efforts are likely to be flying at low altitudes over areas affected by the storm. Flying a drone without authorization in or near the disaster area may unintentionally disrupt rescue operations and violate federal, state, or local laws and ordinances, even if aTemporary Flight Restriction(TFR) is not in place. Allow first responders to save lives and property without interference.

Government agencies with anFAA Certificate of Authorization(COA) or flying underPart 107, as well as private sector Part 107 drone operators who want to support response and recovery operations, are strongly encouraged to coordinate their activities with the local incident commander responsible for the area in which they want to operate.

If drone operators need to fly in controlled airspace or a disaster TFR to support the response and recovery, operatorsmustcontact the FAAs System Operations Support Center (SOSC) by emailing9-ATOR-HQ-SOSC@faa.govtheinformationthey need to authorize access to the airspace. Coordination with the SOSC may also include a requirement that a drone operator obtain support from the appropriate incident commander.

Heres the information the FAA may require:

  • the unmanned aircraft type
  • a PDF copy of a current FAA COA
  • the pilots Part 107 certificate number
  • details about the proposed flight (date, time, location, altitude, direction and distance to the nearest airport, and latitude/longitude)
  • nature of the event (fire, law enforcement, local/national disaster, missing person) and the pilots qualification information.

News and Updates – FAA's Hurricane Michael Update

The Federal Aviation Administration closely monitors forecasted hurricanes and severe weather events and prepares FAA facilities and equipment to withstand storm damage. We prepare and protect air traffic control facilities along the projected storm path so we can quickly resume operations after the hurricane passes. Enabling flights to resume quickly is critical to support disaster relief efforts.

Commercial Travelers
Because of Hurricane Michael, airlines are likely to cancel many flights in the direct path of the storm and the surrounding areas. Flights that are not cancelled may be delayed. Once Hurricane Michael makes ground fall, airports may be listed as open but flooding on local roadways may limit access to airports for passengers, as well as the employees who work for the airlines or at the airport. As a result, every aspect of your trip to the airport, including parking, checking in, getting through security and boarding may take longer than usual.

As always, check with airlines about the status of your flight before you leave for the airport. Major carriers provide flight status updates on their website:

Please continue to check the status of your flight with your airline, not the FAA. You can also check the status of some major airports in the storm path by visitingFly.FAA.gov, which is updated regularly. You can also checkcurrent travel advisoriesprovided by most U.S. airlines.

Air Traffic Control
FAA control towers in hurricane-prone areas are designed and built to sustain hurricane force winds. Each control tower has a maximum wind sustainability. When the winds approach that level, controllers evacuate the tower cabs. They may remain in the building on duty in a secure lower level, and are ready to go back to work as soon as the storm passes.

We also protect communications equipment and navigational aids to the greatest extent possible. As the storm approaches, we disable airport surveillance radar antennas to allow them to spin freely, minimizing potential wind damage. This limits damage to the antenna motors and allows radar coverage to resume quickly after the storm passes.

Drone Users
The FAA warns drone operators that they will be subject to significant fines that may exceed $20,000 and civil penalties if they interfere with emergency response operations. Flying a drone without authorization in or near the disaster area may violate federal, state, or local laws and ordinances, even if aTemporary Flight Restriction(TFR) is not in place. Allow first responders to save lives and property without interference.

General Aviation Pilots
Standard check lists are even more important in and around severe weather. Be aware of weather conditions throughout the entire route of your planned flight. A pilots failure to recognize deteriorating weather conditions continues to cause or contribute to accidents.

What DHS and FEMA are Doing

What the U.S. Government is Doing

News and Updates – FAA Reauthorization Bill Establishes New Conditions for Recreational Use of Drones

On October 5, 2018, the President signed theFAA Reauthorization Act of 2018. The Act establishes new conditions for recreational use of drones and immediately repeals the Special Rule for Model Aircraft.

  • Fly for hobby or recreation only
  • Register your model aircraft
  • Fly within visual line-of-sight
  • Follow community-based safety guidelines and fly within the programming of a nationwide community-based organization
  • Fly a drone under 55 lbs. unless certified by a community-based organization
  • Never fly near other aircraft
  • Never fly near emergency response efforts

The agency is evaluating the impacts of this change in the law and how implementation will proceed. The Reauthorization Act cannot be fully implemented immediately, please continue to follow all current policies and guidance with respect to recreational use of drones:

Updated direction and guidance will be provided as the FAA implements this new legislation.

News and Updates – FAA Approves Nine New LAANC Service Providers

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today announced nine new partners to its Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) initiative, an innovative collaboration between the FAA and the drone industry that provides near real-time processing of airspace authorizations for Part 107 drone operators nationwide who fly in controlled airspace.

Following the FAAs successful prototype, the initiative was simultaneously opened to additional air traffic control facilities and to new industry partners. The five-month onboarding process that began in April resulted in nine new LAANC partners Aeronyde, Airbus, AiRXOS, Altitude Angel, Converge, DJI, KittyHawk, UASidekick and Unifly. The nine join five companies AirMap, Harris Corp., Project Wing, Skyward and Thales Group that have already met the technical and legal requirements to provide LAANC Services.

LAANC uses airspace data, includingUAS facility maps, which shows the maximum altitude around airports where the FAA may authorize operations under Part 107 in controlled airspace. The program gives drone operators the ability to interact with industry developed applications and obtain near real-time authorization from the FAA. LAANC, a foundation for developing theUnmanned Aircraft Systems Traffic Management System (UTM),is now available at nearly 300 FAA air traffic facilities across the country, covering approximately 500 airports.

The FAA next year will accept applications from parties interested in becoming LAANC service providers from January 7 to February 8 and from July 8 to August 9. This is not a standard government acquisition; there is no Screening Information Request (SIR) or Request for Proposal (RFP) related to this effort. Interested parties can find information on the application process here.