The FAA announced on July 23 that will expand the Low Altitude Authorization and Capability (LAANC) system to include recreational operators.

LAANC, a collaboration between the FAA and industry that directly supports the safe integration of Unmanned Aircraft Systems into the nation's airspace, expedites the time it takes for a drone pilot to receive authorization to fly under 400 feet in controlled airspace.

"LAANC provides air traffic professionals with visibility into where and when authorized drones are flying near airports and helps ensure that everyone can safely operate within the airspace," wrote the FAA in a press release. The expansion means the FAA has further increased drone pilots’ access to controlled airspace safely and efficiently.

Major players in airspace management software immediately announced LAANC functionality for recreational pilots. Kittyhawk is launching LAANC capabilities for the recreational sector, leveraging its patented Dynamic Airspace platform and our recently launched LAANC 2.0 flow.

The airspace is becoming more integrated and that includes the rules by which drone pilots fly in controlled airspace. The launch of LAANC for hobbyist users is a major step forward for the FAA to bring a common set of operating rules and access to the National Airspace System (NAS)," wrote KittyHawk CEO and Founder Jon Hegranes. "We recognize the importance of all participants in the NAS to fly with an awareness of rules, regulations, and other aircraft, and we’re excited to bring this very important piece of airspace technology to the thousands of recreational pilots."

DJI has quickly supported Kittyhawk, recommending recreational drone pilots obtain LAANC authorizations through the company.

“Kittyhawk is a leading provider of flight planning and drone fleet management software,” said Brendan Schulman, DJI Vice President of Policy & Legal Affairs. “It’s the app I personally use when I want to check the airspace. We are glad to be able to refer DJI’s many recreational users to Kittyhawk’s easy-to-use tools to fly in compliance with the new requirements for recreational flights in controlled airspace.”

The Kittyhawk app is available to download for iOS and Android.

AirMap also announced that its platform would support LAANC capabilities for recreational pilots.