Drones, unmanned aerial systems (UAS), unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) – all different names for the same technology – aircraft that are operated from the ground.
With the popularity of UAS, the FAA has issued guidelines for safe operation, and Texas A&M University has initiated a program to ensure compliance with the applicable rules and regulations.
Most flights on Texas A&M’s campus will fall under Part 107 of the FAA rules https://www.faa.gov/uas/). These rules include:
- Pilot requirements
- Must have a Remote Pilot Airman Certificate
- Must be at least 16 years old
- Must pass TSA vetting
- Aircraft requirements
- Must be less than 55 pounds
- Must be registered if over 0.55 pounds (online registration: https://registermyuas.faa.gov/)
- Must undergo pre-flight check to ensure UAS is in condition for safe operation
- Location requirements
- Class G airspace (note: most of Texas A&M’s campus is in Class D airspace, so any unmanned flights must be approved in advance by the FAA.)
- Operating rules
- Must keep the aircraft in sight (visual line-of-sight)
- Must fly under 400 feet
- Must fly during the day
- Must fly at or below 100 mph
- Must yield right of way to manned aircraft
- Must NOT fly over people
- Must NOT fly from a moving vehicle
If any Part 107 rules cannot be met by the pilot in command, the FAA will allow you to request a waiver. This waiver must be granted by the FAA before Texas A&M will allow you to operate a UAS on campus. To request a waiver from Part 107 rules, click here: https://www.faa.gov/uas/request_waiver/.
To request permission to fly a UAS on campus (or to hire a third party to fly a UAS on campus), complete the UAS Flight Authorization Application: https://www.tamus.edu/business/risk-management/uas/uas-application/.
After the Supervising Authority has reviewed the application and determined that flights can be conducted safely, the pilot in command will be given permission to fly in accordance with the details on the application.
To fly UAS for educational purposes, faculty members will be given an expedited review by the Supervising Authority. Contact EHS (email@example.com) to initiate a request for educational use of a UAS.