Aloft crosses 1m LAANC airspace authorisations, more automatic approvals and coordination requests

Drone services company Aloft reports completion of over 1 million Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) airspace authorizations and 30 million B4UFLY airspace safety searches. To date, the FAA has processed 1.6 million total LAANC requests. The crossing of 1 million on the Aloft platform represents a significant share of the total.

LAANC is a collaboration between the FAA and industry which directly supports UAS integration into the airspace. It provides drone pilots with access to controlled airspace at or below 400 feet, awareness of where pilots can and cannot fly, and visibility into where and when drones will operate.

Aloft observes an uptick in commercial operations on Aloft – both Automatic Approvals (AA) and Further Coordination (FC) requests, according to a company blog.

When looking at Part 107 authorizations, year-to-date (Jan-Aug 2023 versus Jan-Aug-2022), the trends are mixed across the whole of LAANC and up on the Aloft platform:
— Part 107 AA authorizations are up 19% across LAANC and 35% on Aloft.
— Part 107 FC authorization requests are down 4% across LAANC and up 16% on Aloft.

Compared to Part 107 commercial pilots, recreational use of LAANC continues to decrease. Regarding 44809 LAANC authorizations, year-to-date (Jan-Aug 2023 versus Jan-Aug-2022), usage is down 20% across all of LAANC and 11% on Aloft.

Recreational drone pilots remain one of the largest representatives of airspace users, so this trend will be important to watch going forward.

When Aloft reported on the state of LAANC last year, it noted that over 200 airports had a 0% approval rate. Today, the number of non-responsive airports is down to 131. While some heavily trafficked Class B airports like San Francisco or Denver have started to approve a few FC requests, there are many high-performing airports, such as Austin, which approves over 80% of the FC requests it receives.

The FAA continues to take steps to help give airports the tools, notice, and technology they need to service these requests. In just the last 60 days, we’ve seen the approval rate increase to 67% from a historic average of 45%.

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