Background

droneAn Uncrewed Aerial Systems (UAS) Advisory Group was convened in in 2015 to:

  • Raise campus awareness and provide education
  • Allow for safe, responsible, and ethical use of drones on UI property
  • Create a system for tracking and permission of the use of drones on UI property

The new policy is detailed below. In summary, the policy:

  • Applies to all Faculty, Staff, and Students, and to UAS operated by others on campus
  • Establishes a campus-wide "No Fly Zone" without prior permission
  • Requires compliance with all applicable local, state, and federal laws, regulations, ordinances and UI policies (e.g. video surveillance, use of Pentacrest)
  • Considers privacy concerns, insurance and liability issues, notifying interested persons of planned flights
  • Allows for uses such as research, education, marketing, facilities management, data collection
  • Allows for grievances and enforcement measures

Request permission to use a drone on UI property

Please review the UI policy on use of Uncrewed Aerial Systems (UAS). Section D: UAS Operations outlines the policy and procedures for requesting permission.

Coming soon: Submit this Permission Request Form to the UAS Advisory Group

Questions about the policy? Contact:

Heather Gipson, Assistant Vice President for Research Compliance
319-335-9546, heather-gipson@uiowa.edu

Please contact the the Department of Public Safety at 319-335-5022 if you are concerned about a drone on campus.

 

Drone

 

Policy on the use of Uncrewed Aerial Systems ("Drones")

A. Scope E. UAS Sub-committee and Advisory Group
B. Purpose F. Grievances and Enforcement
C. Definitions G. References
D. UAS Operations Permission Request Form (Coming Soon)

 

A. Scope

This policy applies to:

  • University of Iowa (“UI”) employees and students operating an uncrewed/unmanned aerial system (“UAS”) in any location as part of their UI employment or as part of UI activities; and
  • The operation by any person of UAS involving takeoff or landing from UI property, including
    • any commercial use of a UAS, and
    • the hiring or contracting for any UAS services by a UI unit or department.

*Although “unmanned” is the typical term applied to drone aircraft, the “uncrewed” term long used in NASA and other activities is employed here for gender neutrality.

B. Purpose

The use of UASs, commonly called “drones”, can make significant contributions to UI research, education, and service/outreach in a variety of disciplines. Additionally, aerial data collection with UASs can potentially assist in University facilities/land management, public safety, athletics, marketing, and other support functions.

The UI seeks to permit UASs to be utilized productively in a manner that fully meets UI requirements; and legal, public safety, and ethical responsibilities.  To facilitate that outcome, the Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development (“OVPR&ED”):

  • issues this policy;
  • creates the UI UAS Advisory Group;
  • creates the UI UAS Advisory Group Review Sub Committee (Sub Committee); and
  • delegates administrative oversight of policy implementation to the Assistant Vice President for Research Compliance.

C. Definitions

Aircraft: Any vehicle, machine or device capable of being introduced into flight, including, but not limited to, fixed wing airplanes, gliders, ultra-lights, helicopters, lighter-than-air ships such as blimps and hot air balloons, unmanned aerial vehicles (also known as UAVs, unmanned aircraft systems or UAS, or drones), model aircraft, and rockets.

Campus or UI Property: Land and buildings owned or controlled by the UI, including property leased by or on behalf of the UI or licensed for the UI’s use.

Civil Operations: Any UAS operation that is not a “public operation” (as defined below) is a civil operation.

COA: Certificate of Waiver or Authorization. Pursuant to FAA regulations, the COA is an authorization issued by the Air Traffic Organization to a public operator for a specific UAS activity. With the issuance of Part 107 (see below), COAs are no longer required for most small UAS civil operations.

Model Aircraft: Pursuant to FAA regulations, a model aircraft is “an unmanned aircraft that is (1) capable of sustained flight in the atmosphere; (2) flown within visual line of sight (“VLOS”) of the person operating the aircraft; and (3) flown for hobby or recreational purposes.” Model aircraft are not considered by the FAA as UAS and have different regulations.

Non-owned UAS: A UAS that is operated involving takeoff or landing from UI property as part of a UI-sanctioned activity, but is not owned by the UI.

Part 107: FAA Final Rule on Operation and Certification of Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems, 14 CFR Part 107 (the “small UAS Rule”). This rule governs civil/commercial operations of small UAS (less than 55 lbs., total weight including the aircraft) by a Remote Pilot in Command (“PIC”) or under the direct supervision of a certified Remote Pilot.

Section 333 Exemption: FAA exemption from certain approval requirements based on Section 333 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (FMRA), which grants the Secretary of Transportation the authority to determine whether an airworthiness certificate is required for a UAS to operate safely in the National Airspace System “NAS”.

Public Operations: A COA is required for “public operations,” as defined in 49 U.S.C. §§ 40102(a)(41), 40125. Examples of public operations include, but are not limited to, law enforcement, aeronautical research, firefighting, and biological or geological resource management.

Uncrewed/Unmanned Aircraft System(s) (UAS): A UAS consists of an uncrewed/unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and the components necessary to operate and control the UAV. UAS are often referred to as drones. According to the FAA, a UAS is the uncrewed/unmanned aircraft and all of the associated support equipment, control station, data links, telemetry, communications and navigation equipment, etc., necessary to operate the unmanned aircraft. UAS may have a variety of names including quadcopter, quadrotor, etc. FAA regulations apply to UAS regardless of size or weight. A “small UAS” qualifying for operation pursuant to Part 107 consists of a small unmanned aircraft (which, as defined by statute and regulation, is an unmanned aircraft weighing less than 55 pounds including everything that is onboard) and the equipment necessary for the safe and efficient operation of that aircraft.

D. UAS Operations

  1. The operation of a UAS involving takeoff or landing from UI property shall require the prior filing by a UI employee or student applicant of an operating plan with, and permission from the UAS Sub Committee.
  2. The operation of a UI-controlled UAS outside of the U.S., or in U.S. territory exterior to UI property, shall require the prior filing by the UI employee or student applicant of a permission request form, and permission from the UAS Sub Committee.  For UAS use in foreign countries, and when foreign nationals are involved in any UI activity using UAS, the Office of General Counsel (“OGC”) and a UI Export Control Coordinator (“ECC”) will assist in determining legal requirements and verifying that requirements have been or can be met. 
  3. Permission request forms shall follow the template permission request form to be created and made available by the UAS Advisory Group, and shall be submitted to that Group not less than 14 days prior to the requested operation.    
  4. Any UI employee or student wishing to operate a UAS as part of their UI employment or as part of a UI program must do so with proper authority as either:
    1. A civil operation under either Part 107 (see # 5 below), or under a Section 333 exemption with a valid Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (“COA”);
    2. A public operation under a valid COA issued by the FAA; or
    3. A recreationist/hobbyist (see #6 below).
  5. For all civil operations under Part 107:
    1. Permission to fly will be given by UAS Advisory Group after completion of all required insurance documentation and proof of compliance with Part 107 pre-flight requirements (consisting primarily of remote PIC certification after FAA examination) by the person or persons operating the flight controls. Under some circumstances, a person may be allowed to operate UAS flight controls without a remote PIC certification, under the direct supervision of a certificate holder and subject to immediate takeover of flight controls by the certified pilot. See the FAA Summary of Small Unmanned Aircraft Rule referenced below.
    2. Operators must comply with all Part 107 requirements and restrictions, as listed in the FAA’s Summary of Small Unmanned Aircraft Rule (Part 107), except to the extent that a waiver is granted by the FAA for any of these restrictions. Not all restrictions can be waived, but waivers may be requested for:
      1. Operation from a moving vehicle or aircraft (§ 107.25)*
      2. Daylight operation (§ 107.29)
      3. VLOS aircraft operation (§ 107.31)*
      4. Visual observer (§ 107.33)
      5. Operation of multiple small UASs (§ 107.35)
      6. Yielding the right of way (§ 107.37(a))
      7. Operation over people (§ 107.39)
      8. Operation in certain airspace (§ 107.41)
      9. Operating limitations for small UASs (§ 107.51)

*No waiver of this provision will be issued to allow the carriage of property of another by aircraft for compensation or hire.

  1. Recreational or hobbyist use of UAS or model aircraft involving takeoff or landing from UI property, not for a UI-sponsored academic, research, or business purpose, is not permitted except when expressly permitted by the UAS Sub Committee for official student organization use. On occasion, however, a UAS may be used in connection with a course or project, where the operator is a student under the supervision of an instructor. In such cases, the use may qualify as hobbyist/recreational use and must comply with applicable FAA regulations for such use. Pursuant to FAA guidance issued May 4, 2016, faculty members may assist students with such uses, provided that:
    1. No compensation is received by anyone in connection with the flight operation;
    2. The student primarily retains operational control, the faculty member has all required FAA certifications and permissions to operate the UAS, and the faculty member’s manipulation of the aircraft is incidental and secondary to the student’s (e.g., the faculty member steps in to regain control in the event the student begins to lose control, to terminate the flight, etc.);
    3. The student is not operating the UAS primarily for the benefit of, or as a substitute for, the faculty member when the faculty member does not have a COA to operate the UAS; and
    4. The primary purpose of the course is not UAS flight instruction.
  2. For approval of a permission request form by the UAS Sub Committee:
    1. The plan must be forthcoming and complete in its content;
    2. The envisioned operation must comply with applicable laws, government regulations, city ordinances, and other UI policies;
    3. The envisioned operation must not pose an unacceptable threat to health, safety, privacy, or the environment, either in an absolute sense or compared to other methods of obtaining the desired information; and
    4. The envisioned operation must be judged by the UAS Sub Committee to be consistent with the interest(s) of the public and UI.
  3. Requests for UAS operations involving takeoff or landing from UI property will be reviewed based on the following criteria:
    1. Relationship to a specific UI program or approved activity;
    2. Justification of need to take off or land on campus as opposed to local aircraft support facilities;
    3. Whether or not the operator(s) have all required licenses, permits and clearances to operate the UAS as proposed;
    4. Whether or not appropriate insurance coverage is in place, in acceptable types and amounts, proof of which has been provided to the UI; and
    5. Any other factor deemed pertinent by the UAS Sub Committee, OVPR&ED, the UI’s Department of Risk Management, Insurance and Loss Prevention (“RM”), and/or the Department of Public Safety (“DPS”).
  4. All non-owned UAS operators proposing operations involving takeoff or landing from UI property shall provide liability insurance and indemnity coverage in the type and amount prescribed by RM, along with proof of the applicable FAA certification(s).
  5. Any UI employee, student, or unit purchasing a UAS (or the parts to assemble a UAS) or UAS services with UI funds, or funds being disbursed through a UI account, including grant funds, must contact OVPR&ED and UI Purchasing in order to assess the UI’s ability to obtain a COA, other necessary FAA exemptions, or meet other applicable compliance requirements, and to establish an appropriate written agreement with the supplier / service provider.
  6. The UAS Sub Committee shall develop internal procedures for expedited review of permission request forms intended to address short-lived phenomena (e.g., flooding).
  7. The UAS Sub Committee’s or its designee’s responsibilities shall include serving as the UI’s centralized body to interface with governmental regulators on UAS matters including seeking and maintaining FAA authorizations necessary to effectuate this policy.  The Sub Committee shall also develop internal procedures to notify interested parties on campus of UAS flights conducted under this policy.
  8. Whenever the UAS Sub Committee permits a permission request form, the applicant will be issued a permit for execution of the plan. The OVPR&ED will receive and retain copies of each permit.
  9. Whenever a UAS governed by this policy is in operation, the pilot or remote operator shall be in physical possession of a valid permit for such operation, issued as set forth herein, and shall display the permit upon request from law enforcement or other cognizant authorities.
  10.  All members of the UI community are personally responsible for complying with FAA regulations, state and federal laws, city ordinances, and UI policies with respect to the operation of UAS, whether the use is personal, recreational, or for UI business or research. UASs must be properly registered with the FAA and be labeled with the assigned UAS registration number.
  11. The following restrictions and requirements apply for all UAS operations permitted by this policy:
    1. Use of UAS for video or electronic surveillance must comply with the UI Policy on Video Surveillance.
    2. In operating a UAS for purposes of recording or transmitting visual images, operators must take all reasonable measures to avoid violations of areas normally considered private. Do not use a UAS to monitor 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 the interior of any building or anything seen through a building window, animal facilities, biosafety level three laboratories, and laboratories subject to technology control plans. Flight/photography adjacent to campus residential facilities, apartments, and residence halls is not permitted.  See also the UI policies on the Use of the Pentacrest and on the Use of Campus Outdoor Areas other than the Pentacrest.
    3. Do not operate or participate in the use of a UAS while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or in a reckless or careless manner.
    4. Unless express permission is received from BOTH the FAA and  the UAS Advisory Group, a UAS that is subject to this policy shall not be operated directly over persons who are non-participants in the flight operations.
    5. Do not fly a UAS beyond line of sight. Use of a visual observer is permitted in accordance with the applicable regulation, however, use of a visual observer does not relieve the remote PIC and any other person operating the flight controls of the responsibility to maintain a clear VLOS at all times.
    6. Do not fly a UAS inside a UI building, or use it to see inside a building. Exceptions may be authorized by UAS Group.
    7. Law enforcement officers conducting UAS flight for law enforcement purposes are exempt from 16(b) and 16(f), but must comply with all other applicable FAA regulations.

E. The UAS Sub Committee and Advisory Group

The UAS Sub Committee shall consist of:

  • the Vice President for Research & Economic Development or designee (chair, non-voting ,  ex officio);
  • the Assistant Vice President and Director, Public Safety, or designee;
  • the Associate Vice President, Facilities Management, or designee;
  • a representative from Risk Management, Insurance, and Loss Prevention;
  • two faculty members of the UAS Advisory Committee designated by the Vice President for Research & Economic Development; and
  • a representative of the Office of the General Counsel (non-voting ex officio).

Appointments shall be for two-year terms, and may be renewed.

The UAS Advisory Group shall consist of:

  • the Vice President for Research & Economic Development;
  • the Associate Vice President, Facilities Management, or designee;
  • the Director, Video and Photo Communication, UI Marketing and Media Production;
  • an Associate Provost, or designee;

Appointments shall be for two-year terms, and may be renewed.

Deliberations of the UAS Advisory Group and Sub Committee may be informed by, but do not supplant or supersede, other related UI policies and review procedures, including without limitation those administered by:

  • The OVPR&ED (e.g., for human subjects protection, Environmental Health & Safety);
  • The Division of Sponsored Programs (e.g., for export controls or grant proposals);
  • Risk Management, Insurance, and Loss Prevention
  • Department of Public Safety (e.g., for Video Surveillance); and
  • Purchasing and/or Risk Management.
  • two faculty members appointed by the Vice President for Research & Economic Development;
  • the Assistant Vice President for Economic Development;
  • the Associate Director of Athletics for External Relations, Intercollegiate Athletics;
  • the Assistant Vice President for Research Compliance;
  • a representative from the Office of the General Counsel;
  • a representative from Risk Management, Insurance, and Loss Prevention;
  • an Export Control Compliance Specialist;
  • the Director of Recreational Services;
  • the Assistant Vice President and Director, Public Safety; and
  • a first responder designee from the City of Iowa.

Appointments shall be for two-year terms, and may be renewed.

Deliberations of the UAS Advisory Group and Sub Committee may be informed by, but do not supplant or supersede, other related UI policies and review procedures, including without limitation those administered by:

  • The OVPR&ED (e.g., for human subjects protection, Environmental Health & Safety);
  • The Division of Sponsored Programs (e.g., for export controls or grant proposals);
  • Risk Management, Insurance, and Loss Prevention
  • Department of Public Safety (e.g., for Video Surveillance); and
  • Purchasing and/or Risk Management.

When UAS Advisory Group and Sub Committee agenda items implicate issues falling under the purview of such units, the Group chair may invite representatives from them to attend Group meetings in an ex officio capacity, in the interest of minimizing delays in the review of proposals, acquisitions, or permission request form.

F. Grievances and Enforcement

Decisions of the UAS Advisory Group and Sub Committee are advisory to the Vice President for Research & Economic Development, who will answer grievances regarding their resulting implementation through the UI’s established grievance processes.

Violations of this policy may result in any of the following:

  • Immediate removal of UAS and/or violators from UI property;
  • Resolution in accordance with applicable UI policies and procedures, which may include disciplinary action up to and including expulsion or termination from the UI;
  • Being reported to UI DPS for possible criminal investigation; and/or
  • Being reported to the federal regulatory agency with jurisdiction over the matter.

G. References

Federal Aviation Administration:

 


 

The University of Iowa extends its thanks to Michigan State University for allowing us to use portions of “Interim Policy, University Use of Uncrewed Aerial and Submersible Vehicles (“Drones”), May 20, 2014.  The University of Iowa also extends its thanks to our other academic colleagues who allowed us to use portions of their policies to help develop this policy.