The DroneUp Airspace Planner is the latest on the Federal Aviation Administration’s list of companies that have LAANC integration.
Prior to their recent approval, DroneUp had been providing LAANC request capability through AirMap.
LAANC, short for Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability, is an initiative from the FAA that allows private companies the ability to build tools that their operators can use to request approval to fly in some otherwise restricted airspaces (primarily areas around airports). LAANC is important in that the approvals are issued in near-real-time. That opens the door for drone uses like emergency response to simply cutting back on red tape and paperwork for businesses conducting every day drone operations.
Before LAANC’s launch back in November 2017, drone pilots would have to fill out a mound of paperwork that could take up to 90 days to process.
If you’re a drone pilot looking to fly in an otherwise restricted area, you may be able to use one of the 21, FAA-approved LAANC USA Service Suppliers to get approval (some of the providers aren’t public facing, meaning they’re designed for certain people — ie. the company’s own employees only — to use).
There are currently about 400 air traffic facilities — covering 600 airports — in the U.S. where LAANC is available.
The following companies are now FAA-approved LAANC UAS service suppliers (as of February, 2020):
Once you have access to any of those apps, you’ll have to provide some personal information, including first and last name, phone number, and drone registration number. From there, you’ll be able to create plans for up to 90 days in advance.
Adding DroneUp to the list of service providers is largely seen as good news for the LAANC program, which initially launched with just four companies as service providers. At the time, some industry players feared that the FAA granting just a few companies access to become a LAANC service provider help promote monopolies of big companies while hurting the smaller ones, particularly startups with minimal resources.
DroneUp is a Virginia-based company that intends to be a “one-stop solution for drone pilots.” The DroneUp Airspace Planner app does everything from allowing pilots to create flight plans, verify insurance, and now, seek LAANC approval.
DroneUp said given the recent approval, their LAANC capability will be now available through their Airspace Planner app, and is designed specifically for DroneUp clients (of which DroneUp says they have more than 10,000). Their app includes features included sending push notifications when apps are approved, rescinded, and/or invalidated, as well as SMS message when the LAANC authorization is processed, updated, or airspace rules are changed.