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Policies and Procedures

Finance & Administration

4-OP-E-7 Unmanned Aircraft Systems (Unmanned Aircraft and Model Aircraft) Operation Policy

Responsible Division: Finance and Administration
Approving Official: Vice President for Finance and Administration
Effective Date: January 1, 2016
Last Revision Date: Unrevised at this time.

 

SPECIFIC AUTHORITY

FDC 4/3621
14 CFR SECTION 99.7
FAA Modernization and Reform Act 2012

OBJECTIVE

To provide an official University policy pertaining to use of unmanned aircraft systems on property owned and managed by Florida State University.

OVERVIEW

The Federal Aviation Administration, and relevant state and federal law, regulates the operation of unmanned aircraft systems, including drones and model aircraft. Florida State University establishes this policy to ensure compliance with those legal obligations for the safety and welfare of its students, employees, and visitors.

A. DEFINITIONS

1. "Unmanned Aircraft System” (UAS), commonly referred to as drones, is defined by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as “the unmanned aircraft (UA) and all of the associated support equipment, control station, data links, telemetry, communications and navigation equipment, etc., necessary to operate the unmanned aircraft. The UA is the flying portion of the system, flown by a pilot via a ground control system or autonomously through the use of an on board computer, communications links and any additional equipment that is necessary for the UA to operate safely” pursuant to Section 331(9) of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (Pub. L. 112-95).

2. “Unmanned aircraft” (UA) is defined by the FAA as “an aircraft that is operated without the possibility of direct human intervention from within or on the aircraft,” pursuant to Section 331(8) of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (Pub. L. 112-95).

3. “Small unmanned aircraft” is defined by the FAA as “an unmanned aircraft weighing less than 55 lbs.” pursuant to Section 331(6) of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (Pub. L. 112-95).

4. “Model aircraft” is defined by the FAA as an “unmanned aircraft that is (1) capable of sustained flight in the atmosphere; (2) flown within the visual line of sight of the person operating the aircraft; and (3) flown for hobby or recreational purposes”, pursuant to Section336(c) of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (Pub. L. 112-95).

B. POLICY

1. All operations of UAS on or above University owned or managed property must comply with all local, state, and federal laws, including FAA regulations, regarding the use of UAS. The operator of the UAS is responsible to ensure compliance with all relevant laws and regulations in the operation of the UAS.

2. Specific authorization to operate a UAS, including small unmanned aircraft and model aircraft, on any University owned or managed property must be granted by Florida State University’s Assistant Vice President for Safety and Chief of Police before such operation is permitted. UAS operators must provide proof of FAA approval of UAS operation to the University.

3. Any University employee or student wishing to operate a UAS as part of their University employment or as part of an University program must first obtain an FAA Section 333 exemption or Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA) issued by the FAA. This shall be in addition to receiving permission from the Assistant Vice President for Safety and Chief of Police.

4. FAA regulations require that UAS operators operating UAs within a 5 mile radius of Tallahassee International Airport must give specific notice prior the use of UAs to the airport operator or controller. The University’s main campus is within a 5 mile radius of the airport.

5. Any model aircraft operated on University property may not exceed an altitude of 400 feet; may not fly near people; may not fly in a careless or reckless manner; may not interfere with manned aircraft operations; and may not be used to take a photograph or video for compensation or sale to another individual, pursuant to FAA guidelines. 

6. Any UAS, including small unmanned aircraft and model aircrafts, shall not be used to monitor, photograph, or record areas where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy in accordance with accepted social norms. These areas include, but are not limited to restrooms, locker rooms, individual residential rooms, changing or dressing rooms and health treatment rooms. Further, UAS, including small unmanned aircraft and model aircrafts, shall not be used to monitor, photograph or record residential hallways, residential lounges or the insides of campus daycare facilities.

7. The UAS may not be used to monitor, photograph, or record sensitive institutional or personal private information.

8. The FAA “Notice to Airman” (NOTAM) FDC/3621 forbids all aircraft operations, including UAS operations within a three (3) nautical mile radius (NMR) up to and including 3,000 feet above ground level (AGL) of Doak Campbell Stadium beginning one hour before the scheduled start of a NCAA football game until one hour after the game ends. However, aircraft operations for broadcast coverage or for operational purposes of the event are authorized with an approved airspace waiver from the FAA. These restrictions do not apply to aircraft authorized by and in contact with Air Traffic Control (ATC) for Department of Defense, law enforcement, or air ambulance flight operations.

9. Any violations of this policy by employees and students will be dealt with in accordance with applicable University policies and procedures. Any third parties that operate UAS in violation of this policy will be treated as trespassers and may be removed from campus. Violators of local, state, and federal laws may be handled by appropriate law enforcement. 

10. Any faculty, staff, or students operating UAS for hobby or recreational purposes should consult the local chapter of the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) to locate an AMA-sanctioned location where such UAS use is approved.