For those flying anywhere within controlled airspace other than at a fixed flying site with a letter of agreement (LOA), you must use LAANC, the Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC). LAANC allows you to quickly apply for and receive approval from the FAA to fly outside of an AMA club’s fixed flying site location while in controlled airspace during daylight operations at or below 400 feet, depending on your specific location. To access LAANC, you will need to sign up with a service provider such as Airmap, Kittyhawk, or UASidekick. These companies developed the mobile and online portals that interface with LAANC. After choosing a service provider, you can utilize LAANC via a mobile app or desktop computer.
The AMA Government Affairs team continues to work with clubs that are located in controlled airspace to secure LOAs for their flying sites. The FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 requires all flying sites within controlled airspace to have a LOA with air traffic control facilities. AMA has been working with the FAA to obtain these agreements for clubs. Most clubs have preexisting agreements in place that helps to streamline the process.
In controlled airspace, altitudes are preapproved using the FAA’s UAS Facility map values. Many flying sites need altitudes that are above the facility map values, which require a Safety Risk Management (SRM) panel to take place. Clubs in controlled airspace can contact AMA and request altitudes higher than the FAA UAS Facility Map. These chartered clubs will then be put on a priority list that AMA provides to the FAA. The requested altitude limit can vary at each flying site and will depend on the operations and safety mitigations that take place at the site.
SRM panels work to identify, analyze, and assess potential safety risks and find mitigations to ensure that clubs can continue their safe operations at their flying sites. The panels consist of a facilitator who is trained on the SRM process, AMA representatives, FAA representatives, subject-matter experts or third-party stakeholders, and panel observers. Some factors that are analyzed include the fixed site location in reference to the closest runway surface, airport departures and approach procedures, law enforcement activities, and manned air traffic operations. The goal of the SRM process is to address any risks that are identified during the process and develop a plan to continue operating safely in the National Airspace System.
For more information about LAANC or help in determining which service provider is best for you, visit AMA’s LAANC FAQs or contact the Government Affairs team at (765) 287-1256 or firstname.lastname@example.org.