Flying in the United States has been a complicated affair, but today, things got a lot easier. The FAA and industry partners have opened up the LAANC system for hobbyists. This system allows pilots to get authorization for flying in controlled airspace, which is quite a bit of the country near population centers. The system works by automating these approvals when the pilot submits a flight plan. After taking all of this area away from modelers in May, this change makes things right again.

Among the available apps are UASidekick, KittyHawk, and Airmap. Of the three, UASidekick stands out as the easiest to use, most friendly to racing /freestyle pilots, and with the best privacy policy. Though ongoing use isn’t free, we encourage readers to check it out and use the trial filings. Read our interview with the CEO and an overview of the app in our review. If another subscription turns you off, KittyHawk is the best free option right now—in large part because we have yet to succeed in getting a request submitted through Airmap.

Since all the implementations are currently apps, LAANC is unfortunately only available to users with an Android or iOS device. More LAANC-connected system may appear in the future. The FAA’s own Drone Zone website is reportedly working on a web-based version, but it has yet to launch.

If you need to brush up on LAANC and how to use U.S airspace, I’ve written a detailed overview of what LAANC is, how to use it, and what to expect from the FAA down the road over at GetFPV.

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