Coming Soon — More Airspace for Drone Operations (FAA)
October 21, 2021 Comments Off on Coming Soon — More Airspace for Drone Operations (FAA) LAANC,Public Safety Tim Trott

By Peter Sachs, FAA Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Office

Drone pilots will have even more options than before when they seek permission to fly in controlled airspace this fall. The Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability, or LAANC, is getting a big enhancement that will enable drone pilots to operate in even more low-level airspace than before — and to know that they’re doing it safely.

Currently, the FAA divides the airspace around nearly 750 Class B, C, D, and E airports into grids that are each about one square mile. Each grid cell has a maximum safe UAS (unmanned aircraft system, or drone) operating altitude, on which FAA air traffic facility staff, controllers, and managers collaborate to determine. This is the highest altitude that is deemed safe for UAS to operate within each cell with an automatic approval through LAANC. These altitudes can range from zero (no flights allowed without further coordination, such as in areas above and immediately adjacent to airports) to 400 feet above ground level (AGL). The grouping of these grid cells comprises the UAS Facility Map, or UASFM, for a volume of controlled airspace. “The FAA is calling the enhancement ‘Quad Grid,’ explains LAANC Project Lead, Victoria Gallagher.

“This has the potential to open up literally hundreds of square miles of airspace to drone pilots across the National Airspace System (NAS), without impacting the safety of operations for crewed aircraft,” says Gallagher.

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About The Author
Tim Trott Tim Trott has a long history of association with aviation. His father was a glider pilot at one time. Tim grew up with the Sky King television program and later met Kirby Grant after the TV star retired to Florida in the 1970's. Many years later, with the assistance of Kirby's wife and son, Tim wrote "Out of the Blue - The Life and Legend of Sky King". When drones began to become popular, Tim bought an early DJI Phantom. When drone licenses were required, Tim took and passed the drone test in the first hour of the first day it was offered. He later went on to develop a series of training courses and was certified as an instructor by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, teaching first responders around the country, from Boston to Houson and from Lansing to Ft. Lauderdale.