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Unmanned Aircraft Systems policy

Chapter 7860

Posted January 2018

Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), commonly referred to as “drones,” offer opportunities for teaching and research and provide the university community with valuable experiences in a wide range of academic disciplines. Operation of UAS is regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and by federal, state, and local laws. Anyone who seeks to operate UAS on Kansas State University property or at any university-sponsored event must receive approval in advance in accordance with this policy.

Table of Contents

.010 Definitions
.020 Policy Requirements
.030 Procedures for Obtaining UAS Flight Approval
.040 Resources
.050 Contacts
 

.010  Definitions

“333 exemption” 
An FAA exemption under Section 333 of The Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 which grants an individual or entity the ability to operate a UAS for civil and non-governmental purposes and activities, other than recreational or hobbyist activity.

“Certificate of Authorization (COA)” 
A certificate granted to an individual or entity by the FAA which outlines specific conditions for flight. The FAA may insert provisions during the approval process to ensure the UAS can be operated safely. A COA will be issued under a Section 333 Exemption or a granted public UAS operation. A Public Use COA is granted to a public agency or organization to operate a specific aircraft for a specific purpose in a specific location.  A Public Use COA is only issued after the process of determining public status, government use, and an operational and technical review.

“Emergency”
An urgent situation where action is taken to promote the safety and security of persons and/or property.

“Invitee”  
Individuals or entities who visit Kansas State University property, by invitation of a faculty member, staff member, or registered student organization for some purpose that benefits the university.

“Licensee”  
Individuals or entities who visit Kansas State University property for their own benefit or pleasure, and are not invited by a faculty member or staff member.

“Model aircraft”
An unmanned aircraft system that is (1) flown for hobby or recreational purposes, per section 336(c) of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012; (2) capable of sustained flight in the atmosphere; and (3) flown within visual line of sight of the aircraft operator.  Must not exceed a weight of 55 pounds and must follow all limitations specified by Section 336(c). 

“Part 107”
An FAA regulation regarding the operation of small UAS.  Operations under Part 107 are subject to operational limitations and an operator must be certified as a remote pilot airman through FAA-approved testing.  Part 107 does not apply to model aircraft that meet all of the Section 336 requirements.

“Reasonable expectation of privacy”
Locations where there is an objective expectation of privacy.  Examples include but are not limited to restrooms, locker rooms, residence halls, private offices, and health treatment and medical facilities.

“University property” 
Any land, grounds, buildings, or facilities owned, leased, or used by Kansas State University per formal contractual or legal agreements.  Also included are university-owned streets, sidewalks, and bike paths.

“University-sponsored event”  
Any Kansas State University sanctioned, hosted, or controlled event, including but not limited to student academic meetings, athletic events, and university promotional gatherings.  Activities or events sponsored by Independent Student Organizations do not fall within this definition.

“Unmanned aircraft system (UAS)”
Any remotely operated or controlled aircraft intended to fly within the National Airspace System or inside of University owned or controlled buildings.  This includes devices commonly referred to as “drones” and may also include communications, support, and navigational equipment. FAA regulations apply to all types of UAS regardless of weight or size. Model aircraft, a subset of UAS, have additional procedures detailed in this policy.

.020 Policy Requirements

  1. The designated approval authority (DAA) will process requests for UAS activities consistent with applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations and policy requirements for all purposes except for UAS activities relating to the Kansas State Polytechnic campus. The DAA will provide policy interpretation and respond to general inquiries regarding UAS activities.
    1. The Director of Facilities Customer Service (DFCS) will be the DAA for the entire university with the exception of operations conducted by faculty, staff and students associated with Kansas State Polytechnic campus. 

    2. For the Kansas State Polytechnic campus, the DAA is the Associate Dean for Research at Kansas State Polytechnic.
  2. FAA regulations; federal, state, and local laws; and applicable university policies must be followed in conjunction with any UAS activities.
    1. This includes but is not limited to FAA airmen certificate requirements, conditions of any airworthiness certificates, state law governing the safe operation of aircraft, and university policies regarding access to campus.

    2. UAS operated in violation of any federal, state, or local laws, contract provisions, or this policy will be subject to grounding.
  3. UAS owned by Kansas State University will be operated under the authorization of the FAA. When conducting operations for Kansas State University purposes, university employees should only operate university-owned or leased UAS.  Employees operating non-University owned or leased UAS are presumed to be acting outside the course and scope of their employment, unless granted flight approval (with appropriate insurance requirements) under this policy.
    1. This authorization could be obtained under the Part 107 rules, a 333 exemption, or a COA, and will be limited to a specific location and outline the conditions, parameters, and limitations of flight operations.

    2. Those operating UAS under a 333 exemption must also review and be aware of all FAA specifications, and file for any necessary amendments in advance.

    3. Faculty may conduct UAS operations that are secondary to their curriculum under section 336. Faculty conducting UAS operations specifically for the UAS flight instruction, however, do not meet this requirement and must operate under a different authorization.
  4. Operation of any UAS on any university property or at any university-sponsored event is prohibited unless first approved by the DAA.
    1. The UAS Advisory Committee provides guidance to the DAA for UAS activities on university property or at any university-sponsored events.

    2. Any individual who seeks to operate a UAS must obtain DAA approval in advance.
  5. A UAS or model aircraft may not be used to monitor or record activities where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy.
    1. Using a UAS to record or observe areas such as camps or campus settings where minors are cared for or taught is prohibited unless approved by the DAA in advance.

    2. UAS must not be used for unapproved recordings of any campus events or performances, or for any unlawful purpose.
  6. Any individual or organization found to be operating a UAS on university property or at a university-sponsored event in violation of their FAA-approved status, or any federal, state, and local laws or regulations, or in violation of applicable university policies, may be directed by authorized university representatives to cease operation of the UAS immediately unless or until approval is obtained.  Violations will be referred to the appropriate university disciplinary process and will be considered regarding future UAS requests.

  7. Under FAA guidelines, Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFR) may be implemented on university property or at any university sponsored event, which prohibit any type of UAS operations from taking place (e.g., university sporting events).  As needed, the university may issue additional No Drone Zones on university property or at any university-sponsored event, which prohibit any type of UAS operations from taking place.

  8. The operation of UAS by the KSU Police Department and/or other university safety response personnel may be exempt from this policy based on the determination of emergency needs.  During such operations the KSU Police Department will follow internal department protocols.

.030 Procedures for Obtaining UAS Flight Approval

  1. Obtaining approval for and operating a UAS (faculty, staff, student employees, students, volunteers, vendors, and invitees) for University purposes, including education and research. If model aircraft are used for these purposes, then the operator must also comply with the requirements in Section V, below.
    1. Individuals or organizations seeking to operate a UAS on university property or at a university-sponsored event must submit a completed UAS Request Form to the DAA at least two weeks in advance.  The UAS Request Form response should include:
      1. A copy of the appropriate FAA certificate or KSU online training and the location of where the UAS flight will be conducted.

      2. If applicable, a Public COA, statement of reliance on and justification of operations under a 333 exemption with an accompanying COA, and/or other relevant documentation must also be included with the UAS Request Form.

      3. Faculty, staff, student employees, students, and volunteers must obtain at least $500,000 of insurance liability coverage for all UAS flight activities. 

      4. Individuals or organizations seeking to conduct UAS operations under the university’s FAA approval, but not on university property or at a university-sponsored event, must contact the Applied Aviation Research Center (AARC) at Kansas State Polytechnic directly to ensure FAA compliance.

      5. Individuals or organizations seeking to conduct UAS operations on or off KSU property that require a COA or Part 107 waiver must contact the AARC. The FAA requires a minimum of 90 days to process a waiver and 120 days to process a COA. Individuals should plan on at least one additional week for a waiver, and two weeks for a COA, to develop the authorization request.

      6. Vendors and invitees not operating UAS owned by the university must sign a written agreement holding the university harmless for any resulting claims, loss, or damage from flight operations, and attest to $2 million of insurance covering UAS operations.  The language for this agreement must be submitted to the DAA along with the UAS Request Form.

      7. Some UAS are export controlled under U.S. Export Regulations, and some systems cannot be exported to foreign nationals.  Individuals or organizations seeking to design, build, research, use in research, modify, dismantle, and/or operate a UAS must do so in accordance with such regulations and the Export Control policy.  Before submitting a UAS Request Form, individuals and organizations must first discuss such activities with the Export Compliance Officer (comply@ksu.edu) and obtain a Certificate of Export Review.
    2. The DAA will process the request and conduct an initial suitability assessment. If the DAA determines that the UAS activity is permissible without issues, then the DAA will approve the activity.  If the DAA determines that the UAS activity is impermissible, then the DAA will deny the activity.  If the DAA is unsure about whether to approve or disapprove the UAS activity, then the DAA will seek guidance from the UASAC.  

    3. If approved, a copy of the approved UAS Request Form must be in possession of the operator at all times during flight activity, and must be presented to any university official or representative with control or jurisdiction over the activity, upon request. 

    4. UAS operators must only conduct approved flights under favorable conditions.  If unforeseen circumstances develop (e.g., adverse weather) under which operations cannot be conducted in a safe manner, the operator must postpone the flight and request an extension from the DAA within 3 business days of the original date.  If the extension is not requested within 3 business days, a new UAS Request Form must then be completed and submitted.
  2. Obtaining approval and operating a UAS for non-University purposes (licensees)
    1. Licensees seeking to operate a UAS on university property or at a university-sponsored event must submit a completed UAS Request Form at least three weeks in advance
      1. Any requests by licensees must include an FAA flight approval (in the form of a Part 107 license, 333 exemption with an accompanying COA, or a Public COA) granted to the requestor, detailed maps of requested and FAA approved flight areas, a description of the rationale or purpose for the flight, and a detailed list of the individual(s) who will operate the UAS and their qualifications.  The DAA will provide direction to the requestor regarding any additional documentation required.

      2. Licensees must sign a written agreement holding the university harmless for any resulting claims, loss, or damage from flight operations, and evidence of at least $2 million of insurance covering the UAS operations.  This agreement must be submitted to the DAA with the UAS Request Form.
    2. The DAA will process the request and conduct an initial suitability assessment. If the DAA determines that the UAS activity is permissible without issues, then the DAA will approve the activity.  If the DAA determines that the UAS activity is impermissible, then the DAA will deny the activity.  If the DAA is unsure about whether to approve or disapprove the UAS activity, then the DAA will seek guidance from the UASAC.  The DAA’s decision is final.

    3. If approved, a copy of the approved UAS Request Form must be in possession of the operator at all times during flight activity, and must be presented to any university official or representative with control or jurisdiction over the activity, upon request. 

    4. UAS operators must only conduct approved flights under favorable conditions.  If unforeseen circumstances develop (e.g., adverse weather) under which operations cannot be conducted in a safe manner, the operator must postpone the flight and request an extension from the DAA within 3 business days of the original date.  If the extension is not requested within 3 business days, a new UAS Request Form must then be completed and submitted.
  3. UAS Advisory Committee (UASAC)
    1. The following university units will be represented on UASAC: Environmental Health and Safety, Research Compliance, Office of Student Life, KSU Police Department, Facilities, SGA, AARC, Athletics, and Faculty Senate.  The Office of General Counsel with provide legal advice to the UASAC.

    2. The UASAC will provide guidance to the DAA regarding complex or unclear requests to conduct UAS activity.

    3. The UASAC is responsible for placing any FAA Temporary Flight Restrictions or university-issued No Drone Zones.  The UASAC may also designate specific areas where UAS may be operated with the approval of the unit(s) responsible for that university property.
  4. Accountability
    1. Individuals violating this policy will be held accountable for their actions, which may include but is not limited to:
      1. Volunteers are subject to reprimand or loss of volunteer status.

      2. Students are subject to the Code of Student Conduct.

      3. Licensees may be prohibited from entering upon university property in the future.

      4. Faculty, staff and student employees are subject to corrective action, up to and including termination of employment.
    2. The university is not responsible for any damage resulting to a UAS.  The operator will be responsible for any property damage or losses resulting from the operation of UAS.
  5. Model Aircraft - Hobby and Recreational Use Only
    1. Model aircraft may be operated on university property or at a university-sponsored event, but any request for such flights must first be reviewed and approved by the DAA using the same process outlined above.  Additionally, hobbyist and recreational UAS operators must follow the requirements below, and all should complete the AARC’s online training, which can be found here.
      1. Any operator of a model aircraft must also follow the requirements below to ensure safety.  

      2. Any model aircraft operator found to be operating in an unsafe manner may be prohibited from additional flights on Kansas State University property, and may be subject to additional sanctions from Kansas State University and/or its instrumentalities. 
    2. Specific requirements for operation of model aircraft on university property or at any university-sponsored event include:
      1. The model aircraft must only be operated for hobby or recreational purposes, and not for any commercial or research applications.

      2. The model aircraft must not exceed a weight of 55 pounds.

      3. The model aircraft must only be operated in a manner which does not interfere with the flight path or operation of other manned aircraft.

      4. The model aircraft must not be flown within 5 nautical miles of an airport unless the airport control source or authority is first notified of the activity.

      5. The model aircraft must be flown under 400 feet, and remain well clear of all surrounding obstacles such as utility lines, buildings, and other structures.

      6. The model aircraft must not be flown over or above groups of people.  Generally, the university deems any flight over campus buildings or on campus to be a flight over people.

      7. The model aircraft operator must not recklessly attempt to perform maneuvers that could result in injury or damage.

      8. The model aircraft must remain within visual line of sight of the operator at all times. 

      9. The model aircraft must be operated in accordance with any applicable community-based safety guidelines.

      10. The model aircraft must not be used for the unapproved recording of individuals, performances, or campus events, or for any unlawful purpose.

      11. The operator must have sufficient insurance coverage and demonstrate that coverage is in force.  There are three recommended ways to acquire and demonstrate insurance.
        1. Obtain minimum coverage through a homeowners or commercial general liability policy in the amount of $500,000 for Owned Aircraft Liability, or if the operator does not own the UAS, then $500,000 for Non-Owned Aircraft Liability.

        2. Obtain minimum coverage of $500,000 through the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) or other similar organization.

        3. Obtain minimum coverage of $500,000 through Verifly or a similar app.

.040 Resources

UAS Request Form

FAA UAS Website

General Information Regarding UAS Flying

FAA UAS Registration Website

FAA Hobbyist/Model Aircraft Information (Section 336)

AARC Hobbyist Training Video (to be completed)

FAA Part 107 Summary (pdf)

KSU Part 107 Training Website

Guidelines for Photo and Video on the Kansas State University Campus

Use of KSU Buildings and Grounds Policy

.050  Contacts

Questions regarding this policy should be directed to:

Director of Facilities Customer Service
Loleta Sump
108 Dykstra Hall
1628 Claflin Road
Manhattan, KS  66506
loleta@ksu.edu
785-532-1718

Applied Aviation Research Center
Travis Balthazor
UAS Flight Operations Manager
Kansas State University-Polytechnic Campus
2310 Centennial Road
Salina, KS  67401
travisb@ksu.edu
785-826-8557