FAA to Release Drone Flight Maps

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Update: The FAA has now released the first series of drone flight maps.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) plans to release the first set of drone or unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) maps on April 27. The maps will depict areas and altitudes near airports where UAS may operate safely. They will help drone operators improve the quality of their Part 107 airspace authorization requests and will help the FAA process these requests as efficiently as possible.

Beginning April 27, operators may access the maps at http://www.faa.gov/uas.  Users will be able to download the data, view the site on mobile devices and customize their views.

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. 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 Part 107 airspace authorization requests. Altitudes that exceed what are depicted on the maps require additional safety analysis and coordination to determine if an application can be approved.

The maps will be informational only. They do not automatically authorize flights. Remote pilots must still submit online airspace authorization applications at https://www.faa.gov/uas/. The maps also do not guarantee approval for requests within the guidelines indicated by the maps.

The agency is releasing the maps in phases over the next 12 months. Updates to the maps database will coincide with the agency’s existing 56-day aeronautical chart production schedule (PDF). If a map is not yet available, it can be expected in future releases.

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