LAANC service supplier Aloft drone controller

FAA LAANC service supplier application period set to open soon

Want to become a LAANC service supplier? The Federal Aviation Administration is set to accept applications soon for another one of its rounds of adding new LAANC service suppliers to its mix.

The latest LAANC service supplier window opens on Monday, May 2, 2022. From there, there’s a month-long window to apply (applications close on June 3), upon which the FAA will review submissions and conduct applicant interviews. Formal onboarding is expected to take place as early as mid-August and run through the fall.

What is LAANC?

LAANC, which is short for Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability, was created by the FAA specifically for the drone industry in an effort to better enable the safe integration of drones into the nation’s airspace.

Typically, drone pilots are not allowed to operate in controlled airspace below 400 feet or at night. But, you can do it if you apply for approval, which previously took weeks (and plenty of paperwork). With LAANC, pilots can get near-instant authorizations to fly. And that’s where LAANC service suppliers come in.

LAANC service suppliers are private companies or other organizations that actually provide the tools that allow drone pilots to obtain those FAA airspace authorizations. Their tools (often smartphone apps) match drone pilot requests and check them against airspace data in the FAA UAS Data Exchange, such as the UAS Facility Maps.

Current FAA-approved LAANC service providers include Aloft, as well as others like DroneUp Airspace Planner and AirMap.  Aloft is among the biggest LAANC service supplies, having powered 70% of the monthly LAANC authorization requests to the FAA in September 2021. 

And since its launch in 2017, the LAANC system now covers 542 air traffic facilities serving approximately 735 airports. In fact, in February the FAA issued its millionth LAANC-provided airspace authorization.

Experts also say that LAANC is a crucial piece of the UTM puzzle (UTM is short for UAS Traffic Management System, which is essentially air traffic control for drones).

What to know about the 2022 FAA LAANC service supplier application period

The FAA periodically opens its application window (it opened a similar window just about this same time last year). The FAA said it is announcing the application date this far out (more than two months in advance) because it expects to see a mature product at the time of application and wants to give time for applicants prepare.

It should also theoretically solve early criticism that the FAA was becoming a “good ol’ boys club” because — when the program first launched — only about a dozen, handpicked companies were capable of being LAANC service suppliers.

Here’s the full LAANC service supplier application and onboarding process timeline:

  • Application Period: May 2 – June 3, 2022
  • FAA Submission Review: June 6 – July 8, 2022
  • Technical Interviews: July 11 – August 12, 2022
  • Formal Onboarding: August 18 – October 14, 2022

For more information on requirements and the onboarding process, visit

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