There are only three reasons you would be interested in the new FAA Drone Flight Approval system that Southern California should see in June:
1. You are a drone pilot.
2. You are a real estate agent who does business in an area located within five miles of an airport and would like to have aerial images of the property and surrounding areas.
3. You are a homeowner who would like to have aerial images of your property.
The FAA regulations prohibit UAS (Drone) pilots from operating within five miles of controlleed air space. In our market, that includes Pendleton, Miramar, Palomar, North Island and San Diego International. If you want to fly within these areas, you must apply to the FAA ninety days prior to the date you want to fly. You need to provide the altitude, time of flight, area of flight, etc. Even with ninety days notice, it is rare to receive the approval. In effect, homeowners who live in restricted air space are unable to obtain aerial images. The map shown at the top of this post give you an idea of how compicated it can be.
The rules apply to all pilots, whether licensed or not. Drone pilots who do not fly for commercial reasons are not required to be licensed by the FAA. Those of us who charge for the service must have an Unmanned Aerial System Pilot’s certificate. Responsible pilots won’t fly in restricted areas without FAA approval. Civil penalties including fines and license revocation aren’t worth the risk.
The FAA has known for quite some time the current state of regulations are not working to anyone’s satisfaction. They have recently announced an automated system called LAANC (Low Altitude Authorization Notification Capability). Under this system, a database of airspace maps and grids will be available to third party operators approved by the FAA. These operators will be responsible for a system that allows a pilot to request authorization to fly a mission and receive near real-time approval. The approved altitudes will range from 50 to 200 feet, depending on the grid. Some areas will still be off limits. The FAA is responsible for the safety of the National Air Space, and they will not approve flights that are in the flight path of an airport. However, the flexibility shown tlocal LAANC maps that are currently available is a huge step in the right direction.If you have questions about how you will be affected by this change, please call me. We hope to know more by mid June or sooner.