Getting an Airspace Authorization for drone operations from the FAA is a lengthy process, which can take between 90 to 120 days, or longer. (Airspace Authorizations are required if any drone flight takes place within a 5 miles radius of most towered airports. Which are usually Class D airspace and above.)
However, there is some good news on the horizon for drone approvals! As the FAA is about to implement the new LAANC partnership. (Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability.) With the new LAANC partnership, Airspace Authorizations will hopefully be granted much faster. Optimally within minutes, instead of waiting weeks or months.
The LAANC partnership has already gone through the beta testing phase and is now being rolled out across the United States over the next year. It will roll out in the South Central United States first, on April 30th, 2018. (Which includes Arkansas.) The rollout will cover the entire United States by September 13th, 2018. This partnership should drastically speed up Airspace Authorizations in the Northwest Arkansas Fayetteville area, where we frequently have drone operations, and features five airports crowded around the city. Approved LAANC partners include service providers like AirMap and Skyward. We will keep you updated with Ozark Drones’ experience using the new LAANC airspace authorization process. In the meantime, you can follow the latest updates from the FAA LAANC news announcement.