Monday, April 30 is an exciting day for the drone industry in the U.S. That’s when the FAA begins the first wave of the nationwide rollout of its LAANC (Low Altitude Airspace Notification Capability). With LAANC, Part 107 drone pilots can use Skyward to obtain permission to fly in controlled airspace in seconds, rather than the months it has taken to receive manual authorizations.

I’m confident that the expansion of LAANC to the South Central U.S. will further fuel the growth of drone use in public and private industries throughout the region, especially in big cities such as St. Louis, Houston, Dallas-Ft. Worth, San Antonio, and Austin.

This quick video shows how to use Skyward to access LAANC and fly your drone in controlled airspace.

We also put together a downloadable schedule (PDF) of the entire nationwide LAANC rollout. More than 90 UAS facilities will go live on Monday, which I’ve gone ahead and listed here:

New LAANC facilities in the Texas region:

Houston Air Route Traffic Control Center (ZHU)

  • Angelina County Airport (LFK), Diboll, TX
  • McComb–Pike County Airport (MCB), McComb, MS
  • Hattiesburg–Laurel Regional Airport (PIB), Moselle, MS
  • Palacios Municipal Airport (PSX), Palacios, TX
  • Jack Brooks Regional Airport (BPT), Beaumont, TX
  • David Wayne Hooks Memorial Airport (DWH), Spring, TX
  • Gulfport–Biloxi International Airport (GPT), Gulfport, MS
  • Lake Charles Regional Airport (LCH), Lake Charles, LA
  • Lakefront Airport (NEW), New Orleans, LA
  • Mobile Regional Airport (MOB), Mobile, AL
  • Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport (BTR), Baton Rouge, LA
  • Lafayette Regional Airport (LFT), Lafayette, LA
  • Austin–Bergstrom International Airport (AUS), Austin, TX
  • Corpus Christi International Airport (CRP), Corpus Christi, TX
  • Aransas County Airport (RKP), Rockport, TX
  • San Antonio International Airport (SAT), San Antonio, TX
  • Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY), Kenner, LA
  • William P. Hobby Airport (HOU), Houston, TX
  • George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH), Houston, TX

Kansas City Air Route Traffic Control Center (ZKC)

  • Mount Vernon Airport (MVN), Mt Vernon, IL
  • Quincy Regional Airport (UIN), Quincy, IL
  • Chanute Martin Johnson Airport (CNU), Chanute, KS
  • Dodge City Regional Airport (DDC), Dodge City, KS
  • Emporia Municipal Airport (EMP), Emporia, KS
  • Hays Regional Airport (HYS), St, Hays, KS
  • Lawrence Municipal Airport (LWC), Lawrence, KS
  • Liberal Mid-America Regional Airport (LBL), Liberal, KS
  • Kirksville Regional Airport (IRK), Kirksville, MO
  • Rolla National Airport (VIH), Rolla, MO
  • Bartlesville Municipal Airport (BVO), Bartlesville, OK
  • Ponca City Regional Airport (PNC), Ponca City, OK
  • Fort Smith Regional Airport (FSM), Fort Smith, AR
  • Bentonville Municipal Airport (VBT), Bentonville, AR
  • Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport (ICT), Wichita, KS
  • Newton City/County Airport (EWK), Newton, Kansas
  • Colonel James Jabara Airport (AAO), Wichita, KS
  • Springfield-Branson National Airport (SGF), Springfield, MO
  • Monett Municipal Airport (HFJ), Pierce City, MO
  • Kansas City International Airport (MCI), Kansas City, MO
  • Charles B. Wheeler Downtown Airport (MKC), Kansas City, MO
  • Tulsa International Airport (TUL), Tulsa, OK
  • Richard Lloyd Jones Jr. Airport (RVS), Tulsa, OK
  • Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport (SPI), Springfield, IL
  • St. Louis Lambert International Airport (STL), St. Louis, MO
  • St. Louis Downtown Airport (CPS), Cahokia, IL
  • Spirit of St. Louis Airport (SUS), Chesterfield, MO
  • Clinton National Airport (LIT), Little Rock, AR

Ft. Worth Air Route Traffic Control Center (ZFW)

  • South Arkansas Regional Airport at Goodwin Field (ELD), El Dorado, AR
  • McAlester Regional Airport (MLC), McAlester, OK
  • Childress Municipal Airport (CDS), Childress, TX
  • Mineral Wells Airport (MWL), Mineral Wells, TX
  • Winkler County Airport (INK), Wink, TX
  • Waco Regional Airport (ACT), Waco, TX
  • Addison Airport (ADS), Addison, TX
  • Fort Worth Alliance Airport (AFW), Fort Worth, TX
  • Fort Worth Meacham International Airport (FTW), Fort Worth, TX
  • East Texas Regional Airport (GGG), Longview, TX
  • Monroe Regional Airport (MLU), Monroe, LA
  • Shreveport Regional Airport (SHV), Shreveport, LA
  • Will Rogers World Airport (OKC), Oklahoma City, OK
  • Abilene Regional Airport (ABI), Abilene, TX
  • Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport (LBB), Lubbock, TX
  • Midland International Air and Space Port (MAF),  Midland, TX
  • Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), Dallas-Fort Worth, TX
  • Dallas Love Field (DAL), Dallas, TX

Albuquerque Air Route Traffic Control Center (ZAB)

  • Bisbee Douglas International Airport (DUG), Douglas, AZ
  • Winslow–Lindbergh Regional Airport (INW), Winslow, AZ
  • Cavern City Air Terminal (CNM), Carlsbad, NM
  • Deming Municipal Airport (DMN), Deming, NM
  • Gallup Municipal Airport (GUP), Gallup, NM
  • Las Vegas Municipal Airport (LVS), Las Vegas, NM
  • Truth or Consequences Municipal Airport (TCS), Truth or Consequences, New Mexico
  • Tucumcari Municipal Airport (TCC), Tucumcari, NM
  • Dalhart Municipal Airport (DHT), Dalhart, Texas
  • Falcon Field Airport (FFZ), Mesa, AZ
  • Phoenix Deer Valley Airport (DVT), Phoenix, AZ
  • Prescott Municipal Airport, Ernest A. Love Field (PRC), Prescott, AZ
  • Scottsdale Airport (SDL), Scottsdale, AZ
  • Roswell International Air Center (ROW), Roswell, NM
  • Tucson International Airport (TUS), Tucson, AZ
  • Albuquerque International Sunport (ABQ), Albuquerque, NM
  • Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport (AMA), Amarillo, TX
  • El Paso International Airport (ELP), El Paso, TX
  • Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX), Phoenix, AZ (already live)

Five things to know about LAANC in the Texas region

Here are the five main things to know about the rollout of real-time access to controlled airspace, along with examples of how UAS is being adopted in Arizona, Texas, Illinois, New Mexico, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Kansas, and Missouri .

  1. LAANC goes live on April 30, 2018 for the UAS facilities managed by three air traffic control centers (ATCs): Houston (ZHU), Fort Worth (ZFW), and Albuquerque (ZAB).
  2. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that every airport in the region is participating—ATCs managed by private contractors are not included in this rollout, unfortunately.
  3. Also, 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.
  4. Make sure your aircraft is registered and your flight plan is in compliance with state ordinances and local laws put in place to protect privacy, public safety, and key resources. Regulations vary by state. In Texas, for example, there are no-fly zones above crowds, livestock, drilling sites, most state park areas, and critical infrastructure. Texas also has some pretty strict rules about drone photography: UAVs can’t be used to collect photos of private property or people on it within 25 miles of the U.S. border! Do your homework before you fly.
  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 like Skyward 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 the South Central U.S.

UAS is being adopted for an array of uses in public entities and private enterprise across South Central region. Here are examples of drone systems at work in everyday operations:

  • Energy & Utilities – The oil and gas industry uses UAVs for siting work, inspections of pipelines and production facilities, leak detection, vegetation management, and volumetric analyses. Drone operator Andrew Evans sees a growing demand for mapping prospective solar farms in West Texas. His company, Osprey Geospatial, digitally scouts thousands of acres and a large number of possible sites from the air.
  • Storm Damage Assessments – 2017 hurricanes Harvey and Irma alone caused an estimated $290B in damage in the U.S. With drones, insurance adjusters are cutting the time needed for claims inspections to 15 minutes from an hour.
  • Agriculture – Farmers are increasing efficiency and yields with drone-mounted sensors and cameras that tell them when and where it’s time to water or apply herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers. Ranchers can scour inaccessible terrain from the air, counting heads, monitoring herds for calving and rustling, inspecting fencing, or checking for sick animals and feed intake.
  • Construction & Engineering –  Drones are used to survey sites, collect data for 3D models, film marketing videos, capture in-progress pictures, spot job hazards and perform inspections in dangerous areas–heights, bridges, highway underpasses–more safely.
  • First Responders – The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) recently invested in a fleet of 17 drones to assist first responders with search and rescue, crime scene photography, communication tower inspections and surveillance during fires, floods and other disasters. The Border Patrol has a pilot program using UAVs to monitor for illegal activity on the Texas-Mexico line.
  • Real estate – Real estate agents are editing stunning aerial views and lifestyle shots into property listing videos.
  • Natural resource managementTexas State’s UAS program uses the technology to define needed fish habitat improvements, conduct wetland surveys, count water bird nests, scope out invasive plant infestations, and even detect boat propeller scars on seagrass beds.

Easiest Way to Access Airspace with LAANC

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

LAANC Access in Skyward