FAA Now Lets Certain Drones Fly Near Airports

A DJI Mavic Pro drone flies in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

A DJI Mavic Pro drone flies in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Alex Brandon/AP

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Good news for drone pilots. You can now get approval in real time to fly in the vicinity of an airport or another controlled air space, just as long as you're flying the right brand of drone.

This is a collaboration between the Federal Aviation Administration and nine drone companies, Engadget reports.

Those companies, DJI, Aeronyde, Airbus, AiRXOS, Altitude Angel, Converge, KittyHawk, UASidekick and Unifly, all underwent testing to ensure the drones in question are in the right condition to be flying around airports and other sensitive areas.

It is part of the FAA's Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability initiative, which it rolled out earlier this year.

It's not a license for free-for-all flying, however. Professional drone pilots can get the approval they need right away, instead of waiting a year to get permission. Professional is the keyword. Capturing photos and videos, conducting inspections and even herding wildlife are considered acceptable reasons for drone use, according to the FAA.

Pilots will send applications to the LAANC program, which will process the application and inform the pilot exactly where they can fly, including at what altitude, all in real time.