Commercial drone operators who fly in California and Hawaii, as well as a few spots in Nevada, Utah, and Arizona, now have a much faster way to get authorized to fly in controlled airspace. With Skyward, pilots can now access the FAA’s LAANC (Low Altitude Airspace Notification Capability) across the five states. This means that pilots with a Part 107 license can get permission to fly in regulated airspace in seconds, a huge advance over manual authorizations, which take months.

Skyward provides one of the few platforms that lets UAV fliers take advantage of this digital timesaver. The expansion into California is expected to be a boon for the state’s huge entertainment and agriculture industries, two that are pioneering innovative uses of commercial drone technology. This phase of LAANC expansion includes airspace in some of the country’s busiest metro areas, including Los Angeles, the Bay Area, San Diego, Las Vegas, and over 50 smaller air markets. It will help the full diversity of businesses in the West find new ways to use drones in their operations through LAANC capability.

Here are the main things to know, including just where it’s available and how it works.

LAANC now live in Western South region

Here’s the full list of airspace covered in the latest rollout of LAANC (you can also download a PDF of the entire rollout schedule).

Los Angeles Air Route Traffic Control Center (ZLA)

  • Blythe Airport (BLH), Blythe, CA
  • Imperial County Airport (IPL), Imperial, CA
  • Needles Airport (EED), Needles, CA
  • St. George Regional Airport (SGU), St. George, UT
  • Tonopah Airport (TPH), Tonopah, NV
  • Jacqueline Cochran Regional Airport (TRM), Thermal, CA
  • Meadows Field (BFL), Bakersfield, CA
  • Chino Airport (CNO), Chino, CA
  • McClellan–Palomar Airport (CRQ), Carlsbad, CA
  • San Gabriel Valley Airport (EMT), El Monte, CA
  • Grand Canyon National Park Airport (GCN), Grand Canyon Village, AZ
  • Long Beach Airport (LGB), Long Beach, CA
  • Montgomery – Gibbs Executive Airport (MYF),  San Diego, CA
  • Brackett Field (POC), La Verne, CA
  • Palm Springs International Airport (PSP), Palm Springs, CA
  • Gillespie Field (SEE), El Cajon, CA.
  • Santa Monica Municipal Airport (SMO), Santa Monica, CA
  • Zamperini Field (TOA), Torrance, CA
  • North Las Vegas Airport (VGT), Las Vegas, NV
  • Van Nuys Airport (VNY), Los Angeles, CA
  • Hollywood Burbank Airport (BUR), Burbank, CA
  • Ontario International Airport (ONT), Ontario, CA
  • John Wayne Airport (SNA), Orange County, CA
  • Santa Barbara Municipal Airport (SBA), Santa Barbara, CA
  • Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), Los Angeles, CA
  • San Diego International Airport (SAN), San Diego, CA
  • McCarran International Airport (LAS), Paradise, NV
  • Camarillo Airport (CMA), Camarillo, CA

Oakland Air Route Traffic Control Center (ZOA)

  • Eastern Sierra Regional Airport (BIH), Bishop, CA
  • Mammoth Yosemite Airport (MMH), Mammoth Lakes, CA
  • Paso Robles Municipal Airport (PRB), Paso Robles, CA
  • Red Bluff Municipal Airport (RBL), Red Bluff, CA
  • Lake Tahoe Airport (TVL), South Lake Tahoe, CA
  • Ukiah Municipal Airport (UKI), Ukiah, CA
  • Yuba County Airport (MYV), Olivehurst, CA
  • Merced Regional Airport (MCE), Merced, CA
  • Sacramento McClellan Airport (MCC), Sacramento, CA
  • Reno-Tahoe International Airport (RNO), Reno, NV (already live)
  • Fresno Yosemite International Airport (FAT), Fresno, CA
  • Visalia Municipal Airport (VIS), Visalia, CA
  • Napa County Airport (APC), Napa, CA
  • Buchanan Field Airport (CCR), Concord, CA
  • Hayward Executive Airport (HWD), Hayward, CA
  • Livermore Municipal Airport (LVK), Livermore, CA
  • Palo Alto Airport (PAO), Palo Alto, CA
  • Reid–Hillview Airport  (RHV), San Jose, CA
  • Stockton Metropolitan Airport (SCK), Stockton, CA
  • Charles M. Schulz–Sonoma County Airport (STS), Santa Rosa, CA
  • Monterey Regional Airport (MRY), Monterey, CA
  • Oakland International Airport (OAK), Oakland, CA
  • Sacramento International Airport (SMF), Sacramento, CA,
  • Norman Y. Mineta San José International Airport (SJC), San Jose, CA (already live)
  • San Francisco International Airport, (SFO) San Francisco, CA

Honolulu Area Control Facility (ZHN)

  • Waimea-Kohala Airport (MUE), Kamuela, HI
  • Lanai Airport (LNY), Lanai City, HI
  • Hilo International Airport (ITO), Hilo, HI
  • Kahului Airport (OGG), Kahului, HI
  • Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL), Honolulu, HI

Video: How to access LAANC in Skyward

5 Things to Know About Accessing LAANC in the West

Here are the five main things to know about the newest regional rollout of real-time access to controlled airspace in the western south region of the U.S.

  1. LAANC is live as of June 21, 2018 for the UAS facilities managed by three air route traffic control centers (ARTCs): Los Angeles Air Route Traffic Control Center (ZLA), Oakland Air Route Traffic Control Center (ZOA), and Honolulu Area Control Facility (ZHN).
  2. Be aware: not every airport in the region is participating. ATCs managed by private contractors are unfortunately not included in this rollout.
  3. The FAA could shift go-live dates for future phases. 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. They vary widely by state. For example, in California, there are strong restrictions about flying in airspace over private property and capturing information of people or gatherings without permission. Violate them and you risk fines of up to $50,000 plus legal damages. 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.)

Skyward: The Easiest Way to Access Airspace with LAANC

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LAANC Access in Skyward