In an effort to help the agency process Part 107 airspace authorization requests more quickly, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is creating new maps that will depict areas and altitudes near airports where drones can safely operate.
The agency, which plans to release the first set of maps on April 27, says the new tool will help unmanned aircraft system (UAS) operators improve the quality of their airspace authorization requests – which, in turn, will help the FAA process these applications in a more timely manner.
By referring to the facility maps when completing airspace authorization applications, remote pilots will be able to tailor their requests to align with locations and altitudes that the maps indicate are likely to be approved for small UAS operations, the agency explains; this will help simplify the process and increase the likelihood that the FAA will approve their requests.
FAA air traffic personnel will use the maps to process the Part 107 requests. Altitudes that exceed what are depicted on the maps will require additional safety analysis and coordination to determine if an application can be approved, the agency says.
The FAA is releasing the maps in phases: The first phase will contain approximately 200 facility maps, and the rest will follow over the next 12 months. Updates to the database will coincide with the agency’s existing 56-day aeronautical chart production schedule.
The FAA notes that the maps will be informational only; they will not automatically authorize flights.
Users will be able to access the facility maps here. They will be able to download the data in several formats, view the site on mobile devices and customize their views.