Chesapeake, VA (March 26, 2018) — DroneUp, an online platform promoting continuous education and safe operations for professional and enthusiast drone pilots, today announced it has enabled LAANC (Low Altitude Authorization & Notification Capability) available on its operating platform, through AirMap LAANC Deep Linking. The accessibility follows a recent announcement by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to expand the LAANC program to airports and airspace nationwide. As an industry leader in training, flight safety and pilot communication, DroneUp has been working to offer LAANC and other essential compliance and regulatory features to their pilots since late 2017. Today’s announcement underscores DroneUp’s commitment to both professional and enthusiast drone pilots.
“We are committed to continuous education and safe operations and excited to add LAANC so our community will have more opportunities to build drone businesses and fly missions,” said Tom Walker, CEO of DroneUp. DroneUp is the only community-based organization solely committed to promoting safer skies through continuous engagement with both amateur and professional drone pilots.
Beginning in April, the FAA will roll out digital airspace authorization to nearly 300 air traffic control facilities representing approximately 500 airports across the United States, opening up to 78,000 miles of airspace for commercial drone operations. With LAANC access, DroneUp customers can request fast and efficient airspace authorization to fly in LAANC-enabled airspace.
Compared to the manual waiver process, which has 19 steps and takes up to 90 days to process, digital airspace authorization via LAANC is easy, digital, and available immediately. Authorization requests are submitted within the DroneUp app and approved in seconds. Drone operators can apply for two types of authorization with DroneUp: automated authorization for flights within pre-approved zones and altitudes, and manual authorization for flights outside of pre-approved zones and altitudes that require manual approval by ATC.
Users will be able to link their AirMap accounts to their DroneUp accounts allowing simple sign-on and API interactions as that user.
“When in an area that supports LAANC authorizations, we notify the pilot during the DroneUp process that it is available,” said John Vernon, Chief Technology Officer of DroneUp. “If the pilot has already linked an AirMap account, we push him or her directly into the AirMap app (or to App Store / Google Play store if it is not currently installed). We pass in distance and height so that the pilot doesn’t have to repeat the data entry. After completing the process in the AirMap app, the pilot is returned to our app and are DroneUp. When they go DroneDown, we end the flight. If for some reason they do not go DroneDown, the flight will timeout on our end and AirMap will automatically close the flight.” Airspace rules and advisories are provided by AirMap with DroneUp providing additional information about nearby pilots and operations as well as pilots that are currently DroneUp based on their proximity grid.
Partnering closely with AirMap, DroneUp is one of a handful of early adopters to make the move ahead of the announcement. “With the LAANC beta launching nationwide by the end of the year, [this feature] will bring digital authorization to an entire community of U.S. drone operators and developers eager to reach new heights,” said Ben Marcus, CEO of AirMap. “Thanks to LAANC, more airspace is open for business, and commercial drones have more opportunities contribute to our economy and benefit our daily lives.”
The expansion will begin in April, with the FAA releasing a new region each month. Drone pilots near select airports in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas will be first to get started with LAANC authorization this spring.
For more on the program from the FAA, visit their website here.
About DroneUp: DroneUp is the industry-leading community solely focused on safer skies through Continuous Education and Sense of Purpose. Membership requires regular completion of our free DroneUp Safe Operations course, occasional participation in sanctioned missions, and compliance with our Standards of Conduct and DroneUp Safety Guidelines. Headquartered in Chesapeake, VA, DroneUp has been serving the sUAS community since 2016 and partners with organizations like AirMap, AUVSI and others to enhance the drone experience. For more information visit us at www.droneup.com or contact us at [email protected]
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