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FAA to Expand Automated Drone Airspace Authorization System Tests

The Federal Aviation Administration has announced plans to expand the automated unmanned aerial systems airspace authorization tests into the nationwide level by April 30 through Sept. 13.

Dan Elwell, acting administrator at the FAA, stated during the 3rd Annual UAS Symposium in Baltimore the agency’s intent to conduct a nationwide beta test for the Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability, the FAA said Tuesday.

The LAANC is designed to facilitate near real-time airspace authorization request processing to allow compliance with the FAA’s Part 107 small drone regulation for UAS operations in areas managed by an air traffic facility.

System feasibility evaluations began with the agency’s installation of a prototype LAANC at some air traffic facilities in November while the beta test will cover the incremental deployment of the system at around 300 air traffic facilities for nearly 500 airports.

The FAA also seeks for additional LAANC service providers to the current four that are AirMap, Rockwell Collins, Verizon subsidiary Skyward and Google‘s Project Wing with the applications deadline slated on May 16.

LAANC service provider agreements are not classified as standard government acquisition and will not require a screening information request or request for proposal.

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