The FAA has adopted via on its promise to ease the industrial drone authorization course of, publishing greater than 200 facility maps this week.
“This marks a key first step as the FAA and industry work together to automate the airspace authorization process,” says the FAA. “The maps will help drone operators improve the quality of their Part 107 airspace authorization requests and help the FAA process the requests more quickly.”
The maps present areas and altitudes close to airports the place UAS might function safely, however the FAA cautions that they’re meant as a information: drone operators nonetheless want FAA authorization to fly in these areas. UAS Facility Maps (UASFMs) are the identical maps utilized by FAA processors, and show the utmost altitude processor might approve “without additional internal FAA coordination.” (Requests to function over these altitudes should be accepted, however would require additional evaluate throughout the FAA.) The altitudes had been decided collaboratively with native Air Traffic Control workers, says the FAA, and selections had been based mostly on “manned aviation approach and departure procedures, aircraft and helicopter operations, and a variety of other factors to determine where small UAS operations could operate safely.”
“The maps assist drone operators in determining if an operation can be done in a particular location by showing the maximum allowable altitude that can be approved by a reviewer in DC,” clarifies famous drone legal professional Jonathan Rupprecht, additionally a industrial drone pilot and flight teacher. “If you see a 0 then you won’t be approved unilaterally by a reviewer in DC, but if you see a number, this is the highest altitude that the reviewer has been approved by the airport for the reviewer to unilaterally approve for.”
“You’ll still need an authorization because these maps won’t be a substitute for an authorization,” says Rupprecht. “In short, these maps are aiding you to get airborne, not authorizing your to get airborne.”
The maps ought to help, nonetheless, in streamlining the method by permitting pilots perception into the FAA’s standards. “Remote pilots can refer to the maps to tailor their requests to align with locations and altitudes when they complete airspace authorization applications,” says the FAA. “This will assist simplify the method and enhance the probability that the FAA will approve their requests.
FAA air site visitors personnel will use the maps to course of Part 107 airspace authorization requests.”
The UASFMs printed this week are all Class E airspace, however the FAA says that extra might be printed each 56 days all year long. FAA plans to launch greater than 900 maps in complete. “Maps are being released using a risk-based phased implementation approach,” says the FAA. “This approach permits the FAA time to carefully review the impact of releasing maps, identify potential safety implications, and address potential problems quickly if identified.”
Recreational drone operators are nonetheless required to notify airports and the air site visitors management (if current) earlier than flying inside 5 miles of an airport.