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Student Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems

Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) can be part of effective educational experiences for students. However, the laws and regulations regarding their use are as varied as the applications.

Minimum Requirements:

  • Membership in an national model aeronautics group (such as the AMA)
  • UAS registration (recreational or non-recreational)

Student Clubs

Student clubs may fly UAS recreationally under the "model aircraft" rules. However, they are not allowed to charge for their services or fly over people. Student clubs may also hold demonstrations or fly-a-thons, but they must be done in a manner consistent with model aviation.

Students Flying on Campus

No flying is allowed on the UC Merced campus without prior permission by the Center of Excellence on Unmanned Aircraft System Safety. A request may be filed by using the online form "Flight Request." This restriction includes recreational flights and flights by visitors to the campus.

Students in Specific Courses

Students in specific courses in engineering, natural sciences or humanities may use UAS as part of their coursework or a senior project. Usage is considered on a case-by-case basis in consultation with the instructor. Flight operations are limited to recreational use.

Student Research Projects

Research projects are not considered recreational and require a different authorization process. The Center of Excellence on Unmanned Aircraft System Safety provides consultation services to enable research and other non-recreational UAS flights.