The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has planned to release the first set of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) facility maps that will highlight areas and altitudes near airports where drones can operate safely.

The facility maps will help drone operators improve the quality of their Part 107 airspace authorisation requests, enabling FAA to process these requests more quickly.

Remote pilots can refer to the maps when completing their airspace authorisation applications and will be able to customise their requests to align with locations and altitudes that the maps indicate are likely to be approved for small UAS operations.

Air traffic personnel from the US federal agency will be able to use the facility maps process Part 107 airspace authorisation requests as altitudes that exceed what are depicted on the maps call for additional safety analysis and coordination to determine if an authorisation request can be approved.

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"FAA will release the UAV facility maps in phases, with the first release slated on 27 April."

The facility maps are informational and cannot automatically authorise flights, for which remote pilots still require to submit airspace authorisation applications online and can gain controlled airspace access only when granted by the FAA.

FAA will release the UAV facility maps in phases, with the first release slated on 27 April. The first set will comprise nearly 200 facility maps that would help streamline the airspace authorisation process.

The FAA plans to release the rest of the UAV facility maps over the next 12 months.

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Separately, the agency has implemented airspace restrictions on unauthorised drone operations over 133 military bases across the US in order to address national security concerns.

The FAA and the US Department of Defense have agreed to restrict the operations of UAVs up to 400ft within the lateral boundaries of the 133 military facilities. The restrictions will be effective 14 April this year.