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Using KittyHawk for LAANC authorization, step-by-step for recreational drone users

In this article, I’m going to take you step-by-step using the KittyHawk app and getting a LAANC authorization. I’ll be using an iPhone for this example, but they have mobile apps for both iOS and Android. To get your free LAANC account with KittyHawk, you’ll need to download the app, install it and then set up your account. Now on to getting your first LAANC authorization.

If you haven’t logged in, do that now and you should see something similar to the left screenshot. This is the screen you’ll see when you log in and it will show your position on the map using your mobile device’s location. Now tap on the Add button on the bottom middle of the screen, as shown on the left screenshot. Then tap on Request LAANC Authorization as shown in the right screenshot.

In the left screenshot, use Search (magnifying glass) and you can also drag and pinch to zoom, to find the spot you are going to fly. Once you do and tap the screen at that location and that will drop a pin. You’ll define the shape and size of the area in a later step. Now in the right screenshot, swipe up from the short horizontal line above where you see LAT and LONG, and it will look similar to the right screenshot. Then click on the Get Authorization button with the checkmark in it.

Now in the screenshot on the left, tap on the Section 4409 Recreational button. This will display a screen similar to the right screenshot. Here, you can size and position your flight area by tapping and holding on the 4-way arrows at each corner of the square and drag them to more accurately define your flight area.

Once you’ve completed that, drag the white circle on the green slider to the altitude or height you are wanting to fly. Note that it tells you the auto-approval altitude for that area. If you select that or lower then you typically get an automatic approval to your request. Tap the next button as shown in the screenshot on the right.

Next, you’ll see something similar to the screenshot on the left. Here you’ll set the date and time of when you want to fly and the duration of the flight. To change those values, click on each and set it. Remember, you can plan out 90 days, allowing you to set flights up in advance. Once you’ve done that, tap the Next button.

In this screen, you’ll review what we’ve requested for your flight. If you need to change something, you can tap the Back button and change or correct the information. Once you’re happy with it, tap the Next button.

This next screen requires that you read and tap each of the Terms of Operation. Below you’ll see screenshots of the before and after clicking each term. Once you’ve tapped each term, the Agree & Submit button will activate. Click on that. After a short period of time, you should see an approval or rejection for the request come in via text. It will look something like this the screenshot on the right. It’s also a good idea to print out the approval so if you get asked for it, you can hand the paper copy to the person rather than your phone or tablet.

So that’s the process. Once you’ve done it a few times, you’ll find it doesn’t take much time. If your request was rejected, review the reason and issue another request with those areas corrected. Many times the reason for rejection is the altitude or height is above the authorized limit for that grid square.

For a general overview of the process, check out KittyHawk’s YouTube channel here. For a detailed video tutorial, click here.

I hope you found this article useful. Fly safe and have fun!

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