As of July 23, 2019, the FAA is requiring recreational drone flyers to use LAANC (Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability) authorization to fly in restricted airspace, like areas around an airport. See my article on how to use LAANC here.

What does that mean to you?

So what does that mean to you as a recreational drone flyer? That means that if you are with five miles of an airport — even if it’s in your backyard — you’ll need to use LAANC to get an authorization. The good news is that with LAANC you can typically get an authorization for approved height in 30 seconds.

Additionally, if you know you want to fly somewhere on the weekend, the KittyHawk app will let you request authorizations 90 days out.

In the KittyHawk app on the iPhone and Android, you’ll something similar to the screenshots below. The app will walk you through the steps and then you’ll be able to submit the request and you typically get an answer within 30-60 seconds unless you are requesting a greater height than the grid allows.

I currently use both the KittyHawk app and (web-based only for the free version) for getting my LAANC authorizations. Right now you’ll be able to download the KittyHawk app, sign up and use that app to get those authorizations.

In addition, KittyHawk has taken over the creation and maintenance of the FAA’s B4UFly app, which is supposed to be released soon. I found the current version of B4UFly app to be useless and have high hopes that the KittyHawk version will be a good tool for people, given the quality of their current app. The KittyHawk app looks like this.

How do I keep up with these changes?

To get more information directly from the FAA regarding these changes and keep updated, you can sign up on the FAA website. The FAA is also offering the following free webinars about the process:

  • How to operate in the National Airspace System (NAS)
  • How to start a drone program
  • How to fly during an emergency

I hope you enjoyed this article and found it helpful!