Getting authorization to fly near an airport used to be a massive hurdle of paperwork and could take several months to get approved. The new system, called LAANC (Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability) works to fix this with near-real-time authorizations in controlled areas. Drone Pilots also used to have to know how to read sectional maps in order to know what airspace they were going to be in (yes, you still NEED to know to pass the Part 107 test) while new facility maps make it much clearer and easier to understand.
With LAANC, several apps such as KittyHawk and AirMap, allow you to submit authorization requests and get back an authorization within seconds. Since the process is pretty much the same, we chose AirMap as an example of how to go about getting the authorization.
The first step is to launch AirMap and choose the location of your flight. You can use the current GPS coordinates of your location, search for a location, or browse around on the map view.
Once you have your area set, click on the Misson Planner icon in the bottom right-hand corner.
The next step is to design your flight plan. AirMap let's use use a radius, draw the area with a polygon, or a series of straight lines. Once you have your mission mapped out, click on the Next button in the top right hand corner of the screen.
The Flight Plan Details will ask you for some personal information, aircraft information, the date and time of your flight, the flight duration, and some dafety questions. When finished, click on the Next button again.,
The final step will provide you with a weather forecast for the flight area so that you can make sure that if it will be safe to fly or not.
If everything is good, and AirMap doesn't see anything wrong with your flight plan, you will then have the option to submit the plan to the LAANC system.
If everything goes smooth, you will typically get an authorization from the FAA within 5-10 seconds.
Sometimes, you will be trying to get authorization in an area that the DJI GO app sees as a no-fly zone. If yhis is the case, you just need to take a screenshot of your authorization message and submit it to DJI to have your aircraft unlocked. The DJI unlock request is usually handled within 30 minutes.
To request an unlock, go to https://www.dji.com/flysafe/custom-unlock
Hopefully this will help you get those jobs that are closer to airports and get you up in the air within a few minutes should you run into any issues.