Regulatory

FAA Drone Facility Maps Could Expedite Airspace Authorization Process

By S.L. Fuller | April 11, 2017
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The FAA is trying to ease the airspace authorization process for unmanned aircraft systems by releasing the first set of drone facility maps, the FAA said. With a release date of April 27, the maps are meant to help drone operators improve the quality of their Part 107 requests, which would help the FAA process the request more quickly.

Drone operators would be able to reference the maps and see for which areas the FAA is mostly likely to grant airspace authorization. If an operator requests the use of airspace at altitudes that exceed what are depicted on the map, the FAA air traffic personnel reviewing the request would be required to implement additional safety analysis and coordination before approving or denying it.

The release of the maps will not take place of the online airspace authorization application, nor does it guarantee approval. Remote pilots must still submit a request, which will then be authorized — or not — by the FAA.

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Facility maps are to be released over the next 12 months. The FAA said that updates to the maps database are to coincide with its existing 56-day aeronautical chart production schedule.

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