AirMap mobile app offers automated airspace authorization

By Patrick C. Miller | November 08, 2017

Commercial drone operators using the AirMap mobile app now have the ability to request digital airspace authorization to fly in the controlled airspace of certain cities.

Through a partnership with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), AirMap Inc. is now a UAS service supplier for the Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC).

The FAA’s Part 107 regulation requires remote pilots to receive air traffic control (ATC) authorization before operating in controlled airspace. The authorization is usually administered through a waiver application process, which can take up to 90 days.

AirMap said this impedes commercial drone operations in controlled airspace. According to the company, the lack of a more flexible airspace authorization solution represents a loss to the U.S. economy of $127.3 billion in global market value in the commercial drone sector.

However, through AirMap’s partnership with the FAA, the company’s app now enables commercial drone operators to request digital airspace authorization in controlled airspace. This app also assists drone operators in planning missions, reviewing airspace advisories and receiving live traffic alerts. Digital airspace authorization is currently available through ATC at FAA LAANC prototype evaluation sites listed here

Drone operators can apply for two types of authorization with the AirMap mobile app. Using automated authorization, they can fly within pre-approved zones and altitudes in controlled airspace after receiving authorization from participating ATC facilities.

Manual authorization allows for flights outside of pre-approved zones and altitudes, requiring approval by ATC. Manually requesting authorization through the AirMap app will provide confirmation in 30 days or less.