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WASHINGTON – The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has modified its process to request new service suppliers for the Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC – pronounced “LANCE”).
The FAA began considering applicants beyond the current 14 suppliers on January 7. The initial application period has now been extended to increase participation, and the agency has revised all key dates this year for the application process. Also, there will now be only one application period in 2019 instead of two.
A major reason for the changes is the 2018 FAA Reauthorization Act (PDF), under which the Agency is tasked with expanding the LAANC capability. Existing and potential unmanned aircraft system service suppliers are expected to broaden the scope of their applications to include these changes, so the entire selection process will take 10 months, not five as previously announced.
The new schedule is:
- January 7 – March 18
- March 19 – May 26
FAA submission review
- May 27 – August 16
- August 17 – October 21
Formal selection and startup
Interested parties should review information on the application process.
LAANC provides near real-time processing of airspace authorization and notification requests for Part 107 drone operators nationwide. The system is designed to automatically approve most requests to operate in specific areas of controlled airspace below designated altitudes.
Through approved LAANC UAS Service Supplier’s, drone operators can interact with industry developed applications and obtain near real-time authorization from the FAA. Requests are checked against multiple airspace data sources in the FAA UAS Data Exchange such as temporary flight restrictions, NOTAMS and the UAS Facility Maps. If approved, pilots receive their authorization in near-real time.