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Hanga Talk FAA Begins Drone Map Release


The FAA recently began to publish electronic maps for airports across the country that detail where and at what altitudes remote pilots 


aircraft in certain types of controlled airspace. This information will be useful to all sorts of pilots.


The digital maps being made public through the FAA UAS Data Delivery System include a grid overlay that depicts acceptable altitude limits for UAS operations near airports around the country.  and preparing to submit online authorization requests, with the expectation that a request designed to conform with the local limits will be more likely to achieve rapid approval. Operations  more detailed review.


Manned pilots also can glean useful information studying the UAS facility maps for airports they use, since the maps will show where UAS operations may be more likely. Hobbyist drone pilots can use the UAS facility maps as a resource to identify acceptable altitudes around airports more generally, including airports with no control tower.


The FAA is publishing maps like this one for airports across the country, detailing altitude limits on unmanned aircraft operations 


The maps lay the foundation for the Low Altitude Authorization  


 airspace where currently the time required to gain authorization makes many operations near airports impractical, while manned pilots also will have more information available to them about where routine unmanned aircraft system (UAS) operations are expected to occur.


  has authorized many unmanned operations in controlled airspace on a case-by-case basis since the regulation for small UAS took effect in August. A rapidly growing number of remote pilots who wish to operate within controlled airspace have submitted requests through the FAA online system, though they receive little guidance or insight about how the FAA evaluates each airspace authorization request.


The agency expects a huge surge in drone activity in the coming 20 years, particularly commercial operations conducted                  will allow the agency to scale up and meet growing demand for  weeks to process an authorization request, and LAANC could bring that down to minutes in some cases.


34 July/Aug 2017


The facility maps studied by AOPA to date are consistent with Part           


The area around each airport is divided into a grid with an associated altitude limit, such as “400” for a grid square where


          generally limited to 400 feet agl, except in close proximity to a structure, or as authorized by a waiver) or “200” for a grid where UAS operations may be possible at or below 200 feet. Grids marked with a “0” are deemed too close to manned operations to allow any UAS operations. The grids will be updated on the same 56-day cycle that applies to other aviation charts. The FAA plans 


The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) has studied several facility maps and determined they are consistent with obstruction protections that limit construction of structures (obstacles) near airports, as well as the protections provided for instrument approaches. AOPA continues to advise remote pilots to pay attention to detail when submitting airspace authorization  or delayed by incomplete or inaccurate information. Requesting an  depicted on a facility map does not guarantee approval.


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