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Part 107 Airspace Authorizations

Between now and the end of September 2021, LAANC UAS Service Suppliers will transition their applications to reflect changes to the UAS Facility Maps Quad Grids and allow near-real time approval of night airspace authorization requests. In the meantime, drone pilots may continue to fly at night using the process outlined below.

How to request a Part 107 Airspace Authorization.

This information is only for Drone pilots flying under the small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Rule Part 107.

The Operations Over People rule allows for routine operations of small UAS at night without a waiver. To comply with the rule you must:

  • Be an FAA-Certificated Remote Pilot, issued under Part 107, often referred to as a drone pilot.
    • Existing part 107 certificate holders must complete the online recurrent training that was published on April 6, 2021.
    • Recurrent training taken before April 6, 2021 does not meet the requirements of the Operations Over People rule.
    • If you do not hold a Part 107 certificate you must pass an initial knowledge test and apply for a remote pilot certificate through the FAA Integrated Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application (IACRA) system.
  • Register and mark your drone.
  • Equip your drone with anti-collision lighting visible for at least three (3) statute miles that has a flash rate sufficient to avoid a collision.
  • Hold a valid airspace authorization for operations in controlled airspace under 400 feet issued through the FAA Drone Zone or the Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC).

The Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC)

LAANC authorizations are provided to drone pilots through companies approved by the FAA. These companies are known as FAA-Approved UAS Service Suppliers (FAA LAANC USSs). The companies have built desktop and mobile applications through which drone pilots submit their authorization request and receive other safety critical information related to their flight. LAANC authorization requests may be submitted up to 90 days in advance of your planned flight.

LAANC provides:

  • Automated airspace authorizations at pre-approved altitudes on the UAS Facility Maps. Requests are approved in near-real time.
  • Further coordination of requests to fly above pre-approved altitudes, as long as the operation is under 400 feet.
    • Further coordination means that the request must be reviewed by an Air Traffic Manager (ATM) who manages the airspace where you wish to fly. The ATM will either approve or deny the further coordination request.
    • Further coordination requests must be submitted at least 24 hours prior to requested start time of the operation.

List of FAA Approved UAS Service Suppliers.

How to request a daytime authorization through LAANC:

Daytime is the time after official sunrise and before official sunset
Automated approval:

  • Apply on the day you wish to fly.
  • Select the exact time, altitude and location where you wish to fly.
  • Make sure you select to fly at or below the altitude defined by the UAS Facility Maps (this will show up automatically in your LAANC app).
  • Approval is typically received in near-real time.

Further Coordination (Authorization above UASFM Values):

  • Select the exact time, altitude and location where you wish to fly up to 90 days before you wish to fly.

How to request a nighttime authorization through LAANC April – Fall:

Currently, the LAANC system only allows for approval of daytime authorizations. If you attempt to apply to fly at night, you will be blocked from doing so. In the fall of 2021, the LAANC capability will expand to allow night authorization requests.

The following is guidance for requests between April 21, and the Fall of 2021.

Night authorizations at or below the approved altitude in the UAS Facility Maps will consist of two separate authorizations that combined, allow you to fly at night:

  • Daytime authorization (follow the steps outlined above for automated approval).
  • National Authorization (PDF) that extends your daytime authorization to allow night time operations for the date indicated on the LAANC authorization.
    • You do not have to apply for the National Authorization, you can access it here (PDF).
    • The National Authorization is effective only in conjunction with LAANC issued authorizations at or below the Unmanned Aircraft System Facility Map (UASFM) values of the same calendar day.
    • Night time operations that carry over from one calendar day to the next will require separate LAANC daytime authorizations each calendar day.

Review National Authorization (PDF).

For example:
If you wish to fly at 11 PM on April 25:

  • On April 25, during daylight hours submit an automated authorization approval request.
    • You can apply for an automated authorization up to 90 days in advance of your operation.
  • Approved daytime authorization + the National Authorization = an approved night time authorization for operations at or below the designated altitude in the UAS Facility Map.

If you wish to fly at 3 AM on May 15:

  • Before you fly submit an automated authorization approval request to fly during daylight hours on May 15.
  • Approved daytime authorization + the National Authorization = an approved night time authorization for operations at or below the designated altitude in the UAS Facility Map.

Further coordination requests for night operations must be submitted via the FAA Drone Zone website.

Fall 2021

LAANC will provide near real-time authorizations within UASFM values and ability to submit further coordination requests for night operations. The National Authorization Extension will end when the LAANC system is updated.

Updates will be announced here and on FAA social media.

FAA Drone Zone
Drone Zone provides authorizations for airports that are not LAANC-enabled. It may also be used to process requests at LAANC enabled facilities, however it does not provide authorizations in near-real time. All requests are processed manually at the FAA Air Traffic Service Centers:

You can apply for:

  • Authorization at or below approved altitudes on UAS Facility Maps will be approved at FAA Service Centers.
  • Authorization requests above the approved altitudes on UAS Facility Maps but at or below 400 feet. The FAA Service Center coordinates approval with the facility that manages the airspace in which you plan to fly.

Airspace authorizations through DroneZone are available for both day and night operations. Follow the steps below to get approval for your flight.

Day and Night Time Authorization through FAA Drone Zone:

  • Log into the FAA Drone Zone.
  • Select "Create Part 107 Waiver/Authorization".
  • In pop up titled "Part 107 Waiver/Authorization" application choose second option:
    Airspace Authorization and start application.
  • Fill in the required fields:
    • Operation Title:
      • Be clear and specific about what you want to do. For example:
        Photography shoot in MSP Class B airspace.
    • Responsible party:
      • This does not have to be the drone pilot. The responsible party is not required to hold a remote pilot certificate, but will be held responsible for the safety of the overall operation and documentation of pilots and make/model of all drone operating under the terms of the authorization.
  • Operation Parameters:
    • Start/End Date. Note: Dates cannot exceed 90 days from the date of application.
    • Timeframe – select the time you wish to operate.
    • Frequency – select how often you will need to fly.
    • Local Time Zone.
    • Proposed Location Of Operation:
      • Provide as much detail as possible about your proposed operation.
    • Proposed Maximum Flight Altitude About Ground Level (AGL):
      • Requests to fly at or below a UAS Facility Map altitude are approved by FAA Service Centers.
      • Requests to fly above the UASFM and below 400 feet are coordinated by the FAA Service Center with the relevant air traffic facility that manages the airspace you wish to fly in.
    • Review and submit your information to the FAA.
    • Upon submission you will receive a reference number for your application.
    • You may check you application status anytime by logging back into your Part 107 dashboard and selecting the "Manage Part 107 Waivers/Authorizations" button.

Emergency Authorizations & Operations

There is no change to the application process for Emergency Operations.
To support first responders and other entities affiliated with them, the FAA can quickly issue authorizations for natural disaster and other emergency situation responses. Read about Waivers and Authorizations Supporting Emergency UAS Operations to learn more.

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