FAA expands LAANC to include recreational drone pilots

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) beginning on July 23 will expand the Low Altitude Authorization and Capability (LAANC) system to include recreational flyers. This update means you can now get near-instant permission to gain access to controlled airspace nationwide.

In late May, the FAA abolished the five-mile rule, announcing that hobbyists could no longer fly within controlled airspace near airports without first obtaining airspace authorization.

However, until now recreational drone pilots (unlike commercial pilots) did not have access to instant airspace authorizations via LAANC (Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability), which effectively meant they couldn’t fly near airports unless going through the lengthy process of requesting airspace authorization by undergoing a manual review.

Photo by Skyler Smith on Unsplash.


LAANC is the Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability, a collaboration between the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and private industry partners. It supports UAS integration into the national airspace. It provides access to controlled airspace near airports through near real-time processing of airspace authorizations in approved altitudes.

DJI will integrate LAANC approvals within its App

DJI immediately released a statement welcoming quick and easy access to controlled airspace for recreational pilots.  “Opening the LAANC system to recreational drone pilots is an important step in the FAA’s efforts to safely integrate drones into American skies by providing innovative solutions to regulatory requirements,” comments Brendan Schulman, DJI’s vice president of policy and legal affairs.

The FAA approved DJI as a UAS Service Supplier last year which means that soon enough, professional and recreational pilots flying DJI drones will be able to acquire LAANC approvals within their apps. In the interim, you can use the App of San Francisco-based Kittyhawk for LAANC approvals. Kittyhawk is offering recreational pilots free access to its app’s services in the hopes that more hobbyists will be inspired to go professional and pursue a career in drones.

Read the FAA’s official statement about the LAANC expansion here.

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