This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has restricted heavily drones from flying in controlled airspace, which includes areas within five miles of airports. That rule has negatively effected many drone professionals and hobbyists, due to the sweeping areas that were defined as off-limits. Now, the FAA has cleared nine companies, including prominent drone maker DJI to fly their drones in areas near airports. The other companies include Aeronyde, Airbus, AiRXOS, Altitude Angel, Converge, KittyHawk, UASidekick and Unifly.

However, this isn’t just a blanket authorization to fly in restricted airspace whenever and wherever you please — but the new rules will make it easier for drone flyers to get access to these areas.

Until now, if you wanted to fly in restricted airspace legally, you had to submit a request to the FAA, and receiving an approval could take weeks, sometimes even months.

Professional drone operators can now request access to controlled airspace and receive a response in near real-time — they’ll be notified which areas and what altitudes they are allowed to fly in. The FAA will then inform relevant authorities like Air Traffic Control and ensure that drones won’t be allowed to fly too close to airplanes which has caused a string of near-accidents. An FAA study even found that drones could cause more damage to an airplane than a birdstrike.

The move was part of the FAA’s Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) initiative, which was developed by private industry and the FAA.

Note that these regulations only apply to Part 107 certified, or “professional,” drone pilots — so it’ll still be difficult for hobbyists to fly in these areas.  In any case, it doesn’t appear to be too difficult to get a drone license, and there are currently more than 100,000 Part 107 operators.

The LAANC program should now be available at nearly 300 air traffic facilities covering approximately 500 airports, says the FAA.

“Before LAANC, using drones for productive work near many airports required detailed applications and up to months of waiting, even when the benefits were clear and safety was prioritized,” DJI Program Manager Brandon Montellato told Engadget. “Now, LAANC allows easy drone use in more than 2,000 square miles near airports, including many populated areas that can benefit tremendously from drone operations.”

H/T: Engadget

Featured image by PASCAL PAVANI/AFP/Getty Images.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The American Express Platinum card has some of the best perks out there: cardholders enjoy the best domestic lounge access (Delta SkyClubs, Centurion Lounges, and Priority Pass), a $200 annual airline fee credit as well as up to $200 in Uber credits, and mid-tier elite status at SPG, Marriott, and Hilton. Combined with the 60,000 point welcome offer -- worth $1,140 based on TPG's valuations -- this card is a no-brainer for frequent travelers. Here are 5 reasons you should consider this card, as well as how you can figure out if the $550 annual fee makes sense for you.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
N/A
Annual Fee
$550
Balance Transfer Fee
See Terms
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.