Earlier today, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced that LAANC would be available for hobbyist drone pilots to gain access to controlled airspace. DJI followed with their own announcement, recommending the free Kittyhawk LAANC service for recreational pilots. There are two more options besides Kittyhawk’s service and they are UASideKick and Airmap. See below for DJI’s message.

DJI Mavic Pro

DJI recommends free Kittyhawk LAANC service

DJI Welcomes Easy, Fast Access To Controlled U.S. Airspace For Recreational Drone Pilots

DJI Recommends Free Kittyhawk LAANC Service For Recreational Pilots

DJI, the world’s leader in civilian drones and aerial imaging technology, is pleased that starting today, recreational drone pilots in the United States can obtain near-instant authorization from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to fly in controlled airspace near approximately 600 airports. This opens an estimated 2,000 square miles of airspace to safe and responsible recreational drone pilots, just as such authorizations were first made available to professional drone pilots last year.

Recent changes in the law require recreational drone pilots to obtain authorization to fly in controlled airspace, replacing the prior requirement of notifying nearby airports. The FAA’s Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) system identifies locations in controlled airspace where drone operations are considered so safe that approvals can be granted automatically below specified altitudes. Pilots can use LAANC to discover those locations, plan flights, file applications and receive immediate approvals. LAANC also provides information about those flights to the FAA’s Air Traffic Control facilities, improving situational awareness and enhancing aviation safety.

“Drones have earned an admirable safety record around the world, and the FAA has recognized that they may be operated safely in certain areas near airports by both professional and recreational operators,” said Brendan Schulman, DJI Vice President of Policy & Legal Affairs. “Opening the LAANC system to recreational drone pilots is an important step in the FAA’s efforts to safely integrate drones into American skies by providing innovative solutions to regulatory requirements.”

DJI recommends recreational drone pilots obtain LAANC authorizations through Kittyhawk, a drone operations platform with a strong commitment to safety. Kittyhawk will offer LAANC service to recreational pilots for free, to help encourage hobbyists to do more with drone technology and consider professional and career opportunities with drones.

“The American drone industry needs a strong supply of drone innovators, entrepreneurs and hands-on pilots to continue its rapid growth,” said Josh Ziering, Kittyhawk Founder. “Drones are helping businesses, nonprofits, governments and researchers do their work better, faster, safer and cheaper, and accelerating those benefits requires a steady pipeline of talented drone enthusiasts who turn their recreational curiosity into a profession. Giving recreational drone pilots a free and easy way to access the nation’s controlled airspace is a way to help ensure America achieves all the benefits that drones can offer.”

“Kittyhawk is a leading provider of flight planning and drone fleet management software,” Schulman said. “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 by following the links on this page. Drone pilots will be asked whether they are seeking professional (Part 107) or recreational (Section 44809) LAANC authorization and the app will route their requests accordingly.

The FAA approved DJI as a LAANC UAS Service Supplier last year, which will in the future allow DJI professional and recreational customers to use DJI solutions to seamlessly apply for LAANC approvals when planning flights. Further details on LAANC services currently under development by DJI will be announced in due course.

What do you think about DJI’s recommendation to use Kittyhawk’s LAANC service for recreational pilots? Let us know in the comments below.

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