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Further Coordinated LAANC
Further Coordinated LAANC

LAANC Denied or Canceled? Understanding advanced operations starts with the basics.

Updated over a week ago

If you stay at or below the altitude limit shown in controlled airspace, LAANC will be approved automatically.

When you submit "further coordinated" LAANC, above the displayed altitudes, it's a manual approval process dealing with more sensitive airspace. Despite the name, there is no back-and-forth coordination and simply a manual response of Approved, Denied, or Auto-canceled if they didn't have a chance to answer. In areas where you need to fly above the altitude limit, a little more planning is needed.

There is no clear feedback as to why any particular request was approved or denied, and part of learning the system also involves learning the habits and expectations of your local tower. Each airspace can be different, want to see certain details, and might be checking the LAANC portal at different times and intervals, etc., so it's hard to say definitively what went "wrong" if a request is denied or canceled.

The first recommendation would be to allow more time for the request to be answered. Ones that are squeezed in right at the 72-hour mark rarely get approved. The FAA requires unanswered requests to be canceled 24 hours ahead of the planned start time. The FAA states they strive to address requests within 30 days.

To better understand LAANC and what's possible, familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of the system. There are lots of details and links throughout the LAANC process to help break down what's possible, limitations, etc. We also have additional resources and videos available on this topic.

Many times we hear from operators that find themselves in tricky airspace for their first request, and it can quickly become a stressful and high-pressure situation with clients and customers when the drone flight can't be approved and conducted immediately. If you're the pilot, then planning, understanding, and receiving authorization falls to you so it can certainly not look good.

Here are some quick notes for future consideration. There are a number of ways you can increase your chance of approval, but it all comes down to the situational specifics:

  • Plan as far out in advance as you can. Set expectations with customers that have jobs near airports. You can always pull up the address in Air Control to see how difficult getting authorization might be. Schedule Further Coordinated LAANC requests at least a week to a month out.

  • Make multiple requests throughout the week. Mon morning, Tues afternoon, Wed morning and afternoon, etc. Many operators take a "shotgun" approach in case the first one gets denied or they have to cancel because of weather, then you already have requests submitted as potential fallback options.

  • Explain in as much detail in the Safety Justification why this operation needs to be conducted, risks you've identified, how you'll mitigate risks (cones, landing pad, navigational strobe, high reflectivity tape, vest), pilot experience, backup contact info, customer or objective, etc. The more information and context you can provide the tower, the more likely they are to approve it. Save these in a running document (you can also put them in mission notes if you use that part of the platform) so you can reference them over time and see what worked best. (Screenshot example below)

  • You can also submit airspace requests directly through the FAA's DroneZone website, although they will point you back to LAANC when available. If you're within the 72-hour window for further coordinated authorization requests, you can still submit through the FAA DroneZone, however, it's not a guarantee they'll be able to address the request in time.

  • Although the FAA says not to call the tower and check on a LAANC status (as that would be grounds enough to deny it), those with the highest success rates have developed some sort of relationship with a local contact at the tower. It is not advised to call the tower and check on your LAANC status.

  • Be patient. Controllers at the tower are keeping the skies (and people) around the airport safe. For various reasons, due to events or increased traffic, they may not be able to check the portal always at the same frequency. If the authorization doesn't receive approval the first time, try again and allow more time for a response, provide more detail, and look for opportunities to improve.

Have you submitted multiple Further Coordinated LAANC requests that keep getting "auto-canceled"?

If the tower does not have enough time to address your LAANC request, the FAA requires the request to be auto-canceled 24 hours ahead of the planned start time. If you find you're constantly getting auto-canceled at the same airport or airspace, please reach out to support and share the airport as there could be a technical hiccup. We're glad to help escalate any issues with LAANC to the FAA as they arise.

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