Drone operators in Miami have been getting near-instant approvals for drone flights in controlled airspace since last fall, thanks to the FAA’s LAANC program. More UAS facilities are coming to Florida and the rest of the Southeast on July 19 (download the rollout schedule here).

With LAANC (Low Altitude Airspace Notification Capability), requests for authorization to fly UAVs in controlled airspace can now be handled in seconds via Skyward as opposed to the months it takes through the FAA waiver system.

The expansion of this program to new regions in the Southeast is expected to further fuel the growth of drone use in public and private industries in Florida and the region. On July 19, UAS facilities in Orlando, Jacksonville, Daytona Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Tallahassee, and more will join Miami in opening up controlled airspace to Part 107-qualified drone pilots.

Here are the five main things to know about the rollout of real-time access to controlled airspace:

  1. LAANC is already live in Miami; more airspace will go live on July 19, 2018. Here is the full rollout schedule.
  2. Be aware that the FAA could shift go-live dates. The official list of ATCs with live LAANC capability is on the agency’s site, but things are changing quickly and the list may not be current.
  3. Not every ATC in the region is participating. At this point, ATCs managed by the government are scheduled for LAANC, but we don’t yet have a schedule for ATCs run by private contractors.
  4. It’s not just FAA drone regulations at issue. Make sure you’re in compliance with state and local ordinances. In Miami, there are very stiff penalties for failing to register aircraft with the FAA, for not having insurance, for flying over critical infrastructure or large event venues, and for violating rules put in place to protect privacy. Throughout Florida, it’s illegal to take pictures from the air of a person or their property without permission.
  5. What should you do to be sure you’re in compliance with the rules and really authorized to fly? DON’T call your airport or ATC to ask about LAANC access. They don’t have capacity or authority to respond to what could be dozens or thousands of inquiries. DO use a drone ops management platform that has up-to-the-minute LAANC status. (See the walk-through video or review how it works step by step on Skyward’s platform.)

Common Commercial Uses of Drones in Miami

Drones are being adopted for a surprising number of uses across public entities and private enterprise in and around Miami, including heavy industry, emergency response, and novelties like performance art and shark spotting. On the media side, our customer Raycom uses drones to report the news in Florida and throughout the U.S., and LAANC will enable them to cover more stories in more places on the turn of a dime.

Here are more examples of drone systems at work in more everyday operations in the region.

  • Hospitality and tourism – UAVs  are used to get unique views of a hotel or resort property and promote attractions.
  • Construction, engineering, and real estate – Stunning aerial views and lifestyle shots are now a mainstay of real estate marketing, both during and after the building phases.
  • First responders – The Miami-Dade Police Department was the first agency in the country to get an FAA permit to fly drones. While the state’s surveillance laws have since put sharp limits on law enforcement uses, the department is looking for ways UAS can help with school security. Other permissible uses include locating suspects and assisting firefighters.  
  • Energy and utilities – Florida Power & Light inspects for downed power lines following storms, shortening the time to restore power and keeping workers clear of hazards.
  • Media – UAS is a mainstream tool for the motion picture industry and TV news operations in South Florida, bringing huge cost savings over manned aircraft and improvements in the quality of footage.
  • Conservationists, roofers, and agriculture businesses are other local interests that are leveraging drones. One farm used UAV thermal imaging technology to detect which trees were infected with a fungus that destroys avocados, the state’s second-biggest fruit crop, inspiring the hashtag #savetheguac.

Easiest Way to Access Airspace with LAANC

Skyward is one of the only drone ops management platforms that integrates LAANC’s instant access to airspace with a full suite of easy-to-use tools for managing pilots, aircraft, risks and safety. These advances are rapidly expanding what can be done with drones in Miami and throughout Florida, the state with the second most drone applications in the country.

Interested in rolling out UAS for your company or scaling up your program? Get a free consultation

LAANC Access in Skyward