What is LAANC?

LAANC stands for "Low Altitude Authorization Notification Capability" (Terrible acronym in my opinion).  Simply put LAANC is a system that allows small unmanned systems or "drones" to request authorization to fly in controlled airspace. 

DISCLAIMER: As of posting this blog McCarran airport is not utilizing the LAANC system and is used strictly as a theoretical example.  Good news is I have a COA for Class B airspace near McCarran airport.

I live in Las Vegas and we have a central airport McCarran International that covers most of Las Vegas in controlled airspace "B" classification.  This means that any commercial flights MUST have prior authorization from the FAA.  This is called a COA or "certificate of authorization".  The downside is that the COA takes 90+ days to get from the FAA.  What if you had a client book you 2 weeks out but you did not prepare ahead of time or apply for that COA?  Well simply put you can not legally fly in that airspace.  With the LAANC system however you can request authorization and be approved or denied within minutes!  This is a huge help to small business drone businesses.  The goal is to have legal pilots (107 certified) to apply for airspace authorization in a quick and efficient manner over the COA.  

Here is the downside.  You may be denied for any reason.  If you do not have a COA for the airspace and the LAANC system request is denied, you can not fly legally.  However if you do not have a COA it is an alternative solution for those places you don't usually fly in.

Here's where it will fit into our arsenal.  COA will always have priority (until discontinued).  LAANC will be utilized in the occasional jobs that I do not already have a COA.  

I am excited to see how systems such as Airmap and Skyward will utilize LAANC and look forward to testing this system out.

Brady R.

Pilot, Editor, Owner