Faculty Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems
While faculty may not commonly be the primary operator of an Unmanned Aircraft System, they are responsible for adhering to both Federal Law and UC Policies regarding their usage.
- UAS Registration (Non-Recreational)
- Sport or Private Pilot Certificate
- Section 333 Exemption and/or
- Certificate of Authorization
Research projects, including student dissertation or thesis work, are not considered recreational and require authorization under either a Section 333 Exemption or a Public Agency COA. The Center of Excellence on Unmanned Aircraft System Safety is the point of contact for anyone wishing to fly UASs for non-recreational purposes and will determine the requirements, and if necessary, file a petition to the FAA, to enable the desired flight operations.
Public Purpose Research Projects
For public agencies with public aircraft for specific public purposes, an alternative authorization process known as a Public Agency COA is available. This process is the most flexible as applicants are able to petition for any operation, regardless of location, flight altitude or other considerations. However, it is restricted to "aeronautical research or biological or geological resource management" (49 U.S. Code § 401259(a)(2) ). Operations under this special authorization require coordination with the Center of Excellence on Unmanned Aircraft System Safety.
Courses in which UASs may be used
Unmanned Aircraft Systems may be used in conjunction with coursework or a senior project. However the faculy and teaching assistants may only provide minimal assistance in the flying of the actual vehicles. This is limited to assistance to vehicle control and launch/recovery operations.