Drone Journalists Will Benefit From Instant Waivers

When covering breaking news, drone journalists cannot afford to wait 90 days to receive an airspace authorization from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). They can’t afford to wait one day or even one hour. Drone journalists need to be able to quickly launch their UAV, instantly receive authorization, and provide the best possible coverage for their audience. Well, drone journalists rejoice because the FAA plans on providing instant authorization for one of its Part 107 restrictions.

Rule 107.41 of the FAA Part 107 restricts drone pilots from flying near airports/in controlled airspaces. This rule is amongst a heavily waiver requested list including flying at night (107.29), flying over people (107.39), and flying beyond visible line of sight (107.31). Each of these restrictions affects the way drone journalists do their jobs, but the good news is –  the FAA stated that this year it will begin offering instant airspace authorization for drone flights in controlled airspace.

This new advancement will be called Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) and will be available in 50 select cities by the end of the year. The entire list of cities can be found below. Drone pilots will be able to apply for digital authorization using mobile device applications they already use for flight planning.

Co-founder of the unmanned traffic management (UTM) application AirMap, Gregory McNeal, wrote in a recent article how the process would work:

“the FAA has identified areas of controlled airspace where drone flights can be pre-approved up to a specific, safe altitude. They’ve provided that raw data to AirMap and the other LAANC partners to be translated into a dynamic, digital map. Using tools like AirMap’s mobile app, drone operators will enter the details of their flight with just a few taps, and in areas where flights are pre-approved, receive instant authorization to fly.”

McNeal’s entire article could be read here.

Unfortunately, for now, drone pilots will still have to go through the normal FAA waiver process for the other restrictions. But instant authorization near airports and in controlled airspaces is a huge step forward and massive benefit for drone journalists.

Fortunately, DARTdrones new drone journalism workshop will educate drone journalist on obtaining proper waivers and flying drones safely under FAA restrictions. The workshop is designed to train drone journalists to safely incorporate unmanned aerial vehicles into their news-telling tools. The class focuses on Go/No-Go Decision Making, media scenario flying, and applying for FAA waivers and authorizations that are commonly required for broadcasting.

“What I see as the most important topic for new drone journalists is fully understanding Go/No-Go Decision Making,” said CEO and Cofounder of DARTdrones, Abby Speicher. “Every drone flight has different risks and with journalism, you often only have one chance to get the shot. I see our new Drone Journalism Workshop as a specialized way to fully inform journalists about the capabilities of drones and more importantly, knowing when not to fly.”

Class/ Code/ Airport
B CVG Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport
B MIA Miami International Airport
B PHX Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
C ANC Anchorage International Airport
C GRB Green Bay- Austin Straubel Int’l Airport
C LNK Lincoln Airport
C RNO Reno- Tahoe International Airport
C SJC San Jose International Airport
D LHD Lake Hood Seaplane Base
D MRI Merrill Field
E ABR Aberdeen Regional Airport
E AMW Ames Municipal Airport
E ATY Watertown Regional Airport
E AXN Alexandria Municipal Airport
E BJI Bemìdji Regional Airport
E BKX Brookings Regional Airport
E BRD Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport
E CIU Chippewa County International Airport
E CMX Houghton County Memorial Airport
E DIK Dickinson Airport
E DVL Devils Lake Regional Airport
E EAR Kearney Regional Airport
E ELO Ely Municipal Airport
E ESC Delta County Airport
E FFM Fergus Falls Municipal Airport
E FOD Fort Dodge Regional Airport
E FRM Fairmont Municipal Airport
E HIB Range Regional Airport
E HON Huron Regional Airport
E HSI Hastings Municipal Airport
E IKV Ankeny Regional Airport
E IMT Ford Airport
E INL Falls International Airport
E IWD Gogebic- Iron County Airport
E JMS Jamestown Regional Airport
E MCW Mason City Municipal Airport
E MHE Mitchell Municipal Airport
E MKT Mankato Regional Airport
E OFK Norfolk Regional Airport
E OLU Columbus Airport
E OSC Wurtsmith Air Force Base
E OTG Worthington Municipal Airport
E PIR Pierre Regional Airport
E PLN Pellston Regional Airport
E RHI Rhinelander- Oneida County Airport
E RWF Redwood Falls Municipal
E SLB Storm Lake Airport
E SPW Spencer Municipal Airport
E TVF Thief River Falls Regional Airport
E YKN Chan Gurney Airport

Learn more about our workshops!

We offer courses on getting Part 107 certified, launching a drone program, getting drone flight training and much more. Visit or call us at 800-264-3907 to learn more about our industry specific drone workshops!

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