FAA Part 107 Certification: First, ensure you are a certificated remote pilot under Part 107, often referred to as a drone pilot. If you are already a Part 107 certificate holder, ensure you have completed the online recurrent training. If you don't hold a Part 107 certificate yet, you must pass an initial knowledge test and apply for a remote pilot certificate via the FAA Integrated Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application (IACRA) system.
Drone Registration and Marking: Register your drone with the FAA and mark it with its registration number.
Equip with Anti-Collision Lighting: Your drone must have anti-collision lighting visible for at least three statute miles with a flash rate sufficient to avoid a collision.
Hold a Valid Airspace Authorization: For operations in controlled airspace under 400 feet, obtain authorization either through the FAA Drone Zone or the Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC).
Using LAANC: LAANC authorizations are provided by FAA-Approved UAS Service Suppliers. You can submit your authorization request through their apps, often receiving approval in near-real time for operations at pre-approved altitudes. For flights above these altitudes or at LAANC non-enabled airports, requests must be submitted at least 72 hours prior to the planned flight and are processed manually at FAA Air Traffic Service Centers.
FAADroneZone for Non-LAANC Airports: For airports not covered by LAANC, use the FAADroneZone portal. While this process is not in real-time, it allows you to manage your airspace authorization and waiver requests.
Filling Out the Authorization Form: When filling out the online airspace authorization form on FAADroneZone, be specific about your operation's details, including the location, altitude, and purpose. Ensure you select the correct option between authorization and waiver to avoid application denial.
Awaiting FAA Review: After submitting your application, the FAA aims to review and issue decisions on requests within 90 days, depending on the complexity of your request.
Remember to always read the instructions carefully and fill out the form accurately to increase the chances of your request being approved. Also, staying updated on any changes in the FAA regulations and processes is crucial for a smooth application process.