Drone Operators

In light of the growing popularity of commercial and recreational unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), commonly referred to as drones, Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport Authority is advising operators of the procedures for authorization and safe operation.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued specific guidelines for the operation of both commercial and recreational unmanned aircraft. The guidelines include general operating rules including altitude restrictions. If you intend to fly your drone within five miles of the airport, you must have an approved Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA) and comply with any coordination agreements indicated in your Certificate of Waiver or Authorization.

Automated Process

LAANC automates the application and approval process for airspace authorizations. Through automated applications developed by an FAA Approved UAS Service Suppliers (USS) pilots apply for an airspace authorization. This process is completed using your UAS Service Suppliers application or web page.

Requests are checked against multiple airspace data sources in the FAA UAS Data Exchange such as UAS Facility Maps, Special Use Airspace data, Airports and Airspace Classes, as well as Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFRs) and Notices to Airmen (NOTAMs). If approved, pilots can receive their authorization in near-real time.

Unless specifically requested in an authorization, drone pilots do not need to notify the tower before they fly.

LAANC provides airspace authorizations only. Pilots must still check NOTAMs, weather conditions, and abide by all airspace restrictions.

Manual Process

If your automated process was denied, it may be due to the requested altitude and/or location of requested operation. You may use the manual process by going to https://faadronezone.faa.gov and completing the required fields.

The manual process may take up to 45 days to receive approval and may require specific communication requirements to Air Traffic Control.