What is LAANC?

LAANC is the Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability, a collaboration between the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and private industry partners. It directly supports UAS integration into the national airspace. It provides access to controlled airspace near airports through near real-time processing of airspace authorizations in approved altitudes.

Watch Overview of LAANC

Why do we need LAANC?

There are an order of magnitude more drones than manned aircraft. The existing air traffic control infrastructure was not setup to accommodate drone flights at scale. Moreover, the FAA is simply not staffed to manually approve tens of thousands of airspace authorizations. LAANC provides a framework for air traffic controllers, drone operators and UAS Service Suppliers like Kittyhawk to integrate into the NAS (National Airspace System).

How does LAANC benefit a drone pilot?

LAANC creates unambiguous rules and access to controlled airspace. Authorizations that previously took up to 90-days to process are now nearly instantaneous. This dramatically decreases the wait time experienced with the manual authorization process and provides greater flexibility in operational planning. LAANC also provides even more transparency to Air Traffic Control and law enforcement in case they need to contact an operator.

Through LAANC on the Kittyhawk app, pilots can:

  • Apply to receive a near real-time authorization for operations under 400 feet in controlled airspace around airports.
  • Request to fly above the designated altitude ceiling in a UAS Facility Map, up to 400 feet.
  • Apply up to 90 days in advance of a flight and the approval is coordinated manually through the applicable airspace owners.

Note: If you are planning an operation in controlled airspace that requires a waiver AND an airspace authorization you must apply for both through the FAA’s Drone Zone.

How does it work?

LAANC automates the application and approval process for airspace authorizations. Through automated applications developed by Kittyhawk, an FAA Approved UAS Service Supplier (USS), pilots can apply for an airspace authorization. Requests are checked against airspace data in the FAA UAS Data Exchange such as the UAS Facility Maps. If approved, pilots receive their authorization in near-real time.

See How it Works

Is LAANC available for all controlled airspace in the US?

As of November 2018, LAANC is available at nearly 300 air traffic facilities covering approximately 600 airports.

Detailed list of all the FAA facilities participating in LAANC can be found here.

What are UAS Facility Maps (UASFMs) and how are they utilized for LAANC?

UASFMs are maps that depict pre-approved ceilings for flights in controlled airspace. UAS operators may use these altitudes as a guideline when submitting their UAS Airspace Authorization requests through LAANC.

NOTE: These maps DO NOT authorize operations in these areas at the depicted altitudes – they are for informational purposes ONLY. Operators must still apply to operate in controlled airspace (Class B, C, D, or surface area E) by completing a Part 107 Airspace Authorization through LAANC on Kittyhawk or completing a Waiver Application in the FAA DroneZone.

Individuals who request a part 107 airspace waiver and authorization are encouraged to consult the maps prior to submitting a request to determine locations and altitudes that can be auto-approved through LAANC. It’s important to:

  • Identify permissible altitude restrictions
  • Determine automated or manual authorizations
  • Tailor requests to align with areas on the maps for higher chance for automated approval

How far in advance can I apply for LAANC?

Operators may submit intended operations well ahead of time (e.g. up to 90 days in advance). At a minimum, adequate time for ATC situational awareness is encouraged – for example, submitting operations at least a day or two before the operation commences. Most LAANC information exchanges occur in real-time (notifications and automatic authorizations) and provide immediate feedback to operators.

Can I combine other waivers or authorizations with LAANC?

No. For example, you cannot combine a night waiver with a LAANC authorization. LAANC covers daylight operations with a hard ceiling of 400 feet, even if you are near structures greater than 400 feet.

How does LAANC fit with the rest of my Kittyhawk data?

LAANC authorizations will tie back to all of your other logs and activity inside of Kittyhawk, helping you plan, fly and report.

Where is LAANC available?

List of LAANC-available Airports

Recreational LAANC

Learn all about Recreational LAANC