Office of Research Integrity

Office of ResearchIntegrity

Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)

UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEM PROCEDURES AND GUIDANCE

Permission is required from Iowa State University prior to anyone operating Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) from Iowa State University property, and all operators must follow Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rules. The UAS Request Form is the mechanism to receive approval to operate from Iowa State University property.

Anyone utilizing UAS for research purposes must also receive prior approval from the Office of Research Integrity regardless of where the UAS operations occur.  Please complete the Unmanned Aircraft Research Project Approval Form before operating UAS for research purposes.


Types of UAS Use on ISU Property

Extension, Instruction and Coursework, Employment/Commercial, and Research (“Part 107”)

  • With prior ISU approval, certified remote pilots may fly UAS under Part 107 rules for any reason, including: for work or business, instruction, student coursework, research, and for fun and enjoyment.  Part 107 rules encompass business, education, employment, extension, instruction, research, and student coursework activities.

Recreational or Modeler (“Section 349”)

Part 107 Use

Definition of Part 107 Use:  Flying UAS for any reason, including for work or business, instruction and student coursework, fun and enjoyment, research, or for public safety missions.  Part 107 rules encompass business, education, employment, extension, instruction, research, and student coursework activities.

The FAA’s User Identification Tool places student and educator UAS activities under Part 107 rulesThis is a change from the FAA’s past practice of exempting certain educational UAS operations from Part 107 rules.  Part 107 requires the UAS operator to either hold a remote pilot airman certificate with small UAS rating or be under the direct supervision of a person who holds a remote pilot airman certificate with small UAS rating.

Request:

  • Complete and submit to Facilities Planning and Management (FP&M) the UAS Request Form (If your UAS is between 0.55 and 55 lbs, you will need your FAA UAS registration number prior to completing your request to ISU FP&M).
  • If the proposed UAS activities are related to ISU research activities, complete the Unmanned Aircraft Research Project Approval Form and submit for review. Students conducting research projects for course credit (e.g., a senior capstone project) do not need to complete the Research Project Approval Form.

Applicable FAA Rule:  Part 107

Operation:  Adhere to Part 107 rules.  Operate UAS in a safe manner and only at the time and place authorized. See Know Before You Fly and Advisory Circular 107-2 for Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems.

Recreational or Modeler Use

Example of recreational or modeler use:  Flying a non-ISU UAS solely for fun and enjoyment when the UAS activities are unrelated to business, education, employment, extension, instruction, research, and student coursework activities.  ISU does not prohibit recreational UAS uses, but does require pre-approval with consideration for:

Request:  Complete and submit to Facilities Planning and Management (FP&M) the UAS Request Form (If your UAS is between 0.55 and 55 lbs, you will need your FAA UAS registration number prior to completing your request to ISU FP&M).

Operation:  Recreational flyers must adhere to either the Section 349 rules on the Exception for Limited Recreational Operation of UAS or Part 107 rules on Small UAS.  Operate UAS in a safe manner and only at the time and place approved in your authorization from FP&M. See Know Before You Fly and FAA Advisory Circular AC 91-57B, “Exception for Limited Recreational Operations of Unmanned Aircraft.”

The City of Ames and ISU campus are located within Ames Class E Controlled Airspace.  Until further notice from the FAA, Recreational flyers have two options to fly in controlled airspace:

  1. Fly under Part 107 rules. You can fly under Part 107 rules for any reason, including for work or business, instruction, student coursework, fun and enjoyment, research, or for public safety missions.  Part 107 requires the UAS pilot to either hold a remote pilot airman certificate with small UAS rating or be under the direct supervision of a person who holds a remote pilot airman certificate with small UAS rating. 
  2. Fly at FAA pre-approved fixed sites (commonly referred to as flying fields) established by an agreement with the FAA. Operations at the listed fixed sites are authorized up to the altitudes indicated on the unmanned aircraft system (UAS) facility map (UASFM).

Air traffic control facilities no longer accept requests to operate recreational UAS in controlled airspace. 

Until the FAA expands its controlled airspace authorization system LAANC (Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability) to include recreational UAS, FP&M can issue approvals to fly UAS from the ISU campus only to individuals possessing a Part 107 remote pilot airman certificate with small UAS rating.

Recreational flyers may continue to fly in uncontrolled airspace provided they meet the statutory conditions described in the Exception for Limited Recreational Operations of UAS Federal Register notice.

Future FAA changes to watch for affecting recreational flyers:

  • By the end of 2019, recreational flyers should be able to obtain authorization from the FAA to fly in controlled airspace through the online system LAANC (Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability), which is currently available only to Part 107 certified remote pilots.
  • Once a new aeronautical knowledge and safety test is developed and made available, recreational flyers will be required to pass the test and carry proof of test passage (or fly under Part 107 rules).
  • The FAA will develop a process for recognizing community based UAS organizations and their safety guidelines for recreational flyers.

Applicable FAA Rule:  Section 349 Exception for Limited Recreational Operations of Unmanned Aircraft

Safety Issues: Commercially available UAS can weigh up to 55 pounds under FAA regulations. A flying object of even a few ounces can cause injury to people, animals and property. Larger unmanned aircraft can cause fatalities upon loss of power. In one instance at ISU, a remotely controlled aircraft was observed crashing into Parks Library. In another case, a UAS flown from the top of the Memorial Union Parking Ramp crashed on top of a university building. Had these aircraft hit the glass windows of one of our older buildings, they could have caused not only property damage, but serious injury to people or animals.

Privacy Issues: People live their lives with certain expectations. If they live on the ground floor, they know someone can see in if they leave the curtain open. If they live on an upper floor, they know that a telephoto lens on the ground isn’t going to expose much. Or they know there are windows on the building across the street, and they decide to pull the shades. UAS bearing cameras offer flexibility in angle of view and closeness to windows where individuals have a reasonable expectation of privacy.

Insurance Requirements:

ISU employees operating ISU-owned UAS as part of their ISU responsibilities are covered under ISU’s insurance and do not need to fulfill a requirement for carrying personal aircraft liability insurance.

Recreational flyers operating from ISU property are responsible for any damage caused by their UAS activities and therefore must comply with ISU’s requirement for aircraft liability insurance coverage through Option 1 or 2 below.  You may wish to become a member of the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) or other similar organization to obtain insurance coverage.

Option 1: General Liability Insurance

Provide a certificate of insurance from your general liability insurance company (usually your homeowners’ insurance carrier) showing that your policy applies to liabilities, in the amounts stated below, arising from the use of model/hobby aircraft:

Owned aircraft liability: $500,000
Non-Owned aircraft liability: $500,000
The certificate holder and additional insured must be:

Iowa State University; State of Iowa; Board of Regents, State of Iowa
c/o Office of Risk Management
3618 Administrative Services Building
Ames IA 50011-3618
Email to: orm@iastate.edu

Option 2: Academy of Model Aeronautics Insurance (or similar)

Provide to the Office of Risk Management proof of coverage for at least $500,000 through the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) or similar organization.

The university reserves the right to modify these requirements based on its determination of risk.

Third Party Contractors and Commercial UAS Operators flying from ISU property must comply with the following commercial insurance requirement:

Owned Aircraft Liability: $2 million
Non–Owned Aircraft Liability: $2 million
Commercial General Liability:   $1,000,000 per occurrence; $2,000,000 aggregate

  • Policy shall name Iowa State University; Board of Regents, State of Iowa; and the State of Iowa as additional insureds.
  • Insurance companies shall be licensed to do business in the State of Iowa and have a minimum AM Best Rating of A-VII.
  • Certificates must be issued and on file prior to UAS operation on ISU property.
  • The purchase of any policy or adding Iowa State as additional insured shall not limit the defense of governmental immunity.

Certificates and Endorsements shall be sent to:

ISU Office of Risk Management
1700 Administrative Services Building
2221 Wanda Daley Drive
Ames, IA 50011-1004
Email to: orm@iastate.edu

The university reserves the right to modify these requirements based on its determination of risk.


RESOURCES

Summary of Current FAA UAS Rules
Frequently Asked Questions
UAS Flying Request Form
Unmanned Aircraft Research Project Approval Form
ISU UAS Policy
FAA UAS Website