Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) or Drone Guidelines

Southern Utah University faculty, staff, or students operating University owned UAS should adhere to the following prior to operating UAS:

  1. Register the UAS with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Southern Utah University (SUU) Risk Management Office. UAS registration with the FAA can be performed online through the FAADroneZone or by using the FAA Form 8050-1. UAS registration with the SUU Risk Management Office can be performed by completing the SUU Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) Use Application for University Owned UASs.
  2. SUU Departments purchasing UAS must coordinate with SUU Risk Management prior to purchasing a UAS to ensure proper insurance coverage. SUU’s General Liability and Property insurance will cover qualified SUU owned and operated drones provided that the drone is registered with the SUU Risk Management Office. Please contact the SUU Risk Management Office to find out if your drone qualifies for insurance coverage prior to purchase.
  3. Submit a detailed flight plan using the SUU Unmanned Aerial System (Drone) Use Application. The flight plan should include the UAS model, FAA registration information, University unit that owns the UAS and the primary contact person’s information. Please note that multiple flights per semester may be submitted on one application and flight plan.
  4. After executing your flight plan, close it out by contacting the SUU Safety and Risk Management Director (send an email to humes@suu.edu) and the FAA as appropriate.
  5. Operator must comply with all applicable federal (FAA), state, and local laws, including, but not limited to:
    1. UAS operation may involve one individual or a team of crew-members. The Remote Pilot in Command (“Remote PIC”) has the final authority and responsibility for the operation and safety of the UAS. A person who is not a Remote PIC may operate an UAS only under the direct supervision of the Remote PIC. The Remote PIC must be in close proximity to the operator in order to step-in and regain control of the UAS if necessary. A visual observer may be used as a flight crew-member to help see and avoid other objects in the sky or on the ground.
    2. An SUU Injury Report must be submitted to the Risk Management Office in the event of injuries to any person or property damage. (Injury Report Form)
    3. Depending on the circumstances, an accident report may have to be reported to the FAA and/or the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).
      1. According to the FAA, accidents resulting in serious injury to any person or any loss of consciousness, or damage to property, other than the UAS, if the cost to repair or replace is greater than $500 must be reported to the FAA within 10 days of the operation.
      2. According to the NTSB, Unmanned aircraft accident means an occurrence associated with the operation of any public or civil unmanned aircraft system that takes place between the time that the system is activated with the purpose of flight and the time that the system is deactivated at the conclusion of its mission, in which:
        1. Any person suffers death or serious injury; or
        2. The aircraft has a maximum gross takeoff weight of 300 pounds or greater and sustains substantial damage.
      3. Read the NTSB reporting guidelines, Title 49 C.F.R. Part 830, and the UAS Accident Reporting for more information.
    4. UAS must always be within the operator’s visual line-of-sight unaided by any device other than corrective lenses (i.e. binoculars, telescopes etc.).
    5. Ensure the UAS Weighs less than 55 pounds.
    6. Never interfere with any manned aircraft.
    7. Do not be careless or reckless with your UAS. You could be fined by the FAA for endangering people, property or other aircraft.
    8. Do not operate the UAS over a group of people. Do not operate the UAS over any individual that is not directly participating in the operation of the UAS.
    9. Do not fly higher than 400 feet; or higher than any other maximum altitude restriction for the area in which the drone is flying.
    10. View the FAA requirements and safe operations guidelines for a full description.
  6. Recreational or hobbyist/Part 107/Commercial operations must receive an airspace waiver issued by the FAA or the Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability program (LAANC) when operating in controlled airspace. Information about LAANC may be found online. The airspace surrounding the SUU campus and most of Cedar City, UT is controlled airspace and must follow these procedures.

    Because of the SUU campus proximity to an airport with high volumes of aircraft activity and instrument approach procedures, notification is suggested to the Cedar City Regional Airport at least one day prior to planned flight.

    An operator must justify the safety of an operation to the FAA in an airspace waiver request. Airspace waivers to operate on campus, due to the proximity of the airport, must be received through the manual approval process. This takes more time and requires a good justification of safety provisions that will be followed during the operation. Here are some pointers that may increase the likelihood of receiving an airspace waiver on campus:
    1. Monitor the local air traffic on the Cedar City CTAF (123.0) using an aviation radio. Identify any manned air traffic coming toward the operational area and give way to all other air traffic.
    2. Keep the maximum altitude requested as low as possible for the requirements of the mission.
    3. Use a visual observer as necessary to monitor for conflicting air traffic.
    4. Follow all other regulatory requirements of FAR Part 107.
  7. Operation of a University owned UAS at an off-campus location is subject to all requirements/laws/policies of that location. It is also subject to the flight plan and other requirements contained within these guidelines.
  8. UAS must only be operated by a SUU employee/student employee as part of their employment or student as part of an academic/research program.
  9. UAS should only be operated by a person with a part 107 remote pilot certificate with a UAS rating or under the direct supervision of a Remote PIC who is certified under Part 107 and that person’s information should be included in the flight plan. Please submit a copy of your Remote Pilot Certificate to the SUU Risk Management Office.
  10. A student who does not have a Remote Pilot Certificate, may operate an UAS for educational purposes as per the FAA’s educational allowance.

    However, a student may only operate an UAS under the direct supervision of an authorized Remote PIC.

    More information for educational users.
  11. Pilots operating UAS for purposes of recording or transmitting visual images must take all reasonable measures to avoid violations of areas normally considered private.

The University regularly contracts with third-party vendors who provide valuable services to the University. Third-party vendors contracted with the University should operate their UAS in accordance within the following guidelines while operating their UAS on or above University property

  1. Operator must comply with all applicable federal (FAA), state, and local laws, including, but not limited to:
    1. UAS must always be within the operator’s visual line-of-sight unaided by any device other than corrective lenses (i.e. binoculars, telescopes etc.).
    2. Register your UAS with the FAA prior to operating on, or above, University property if the UAS weighs more than 0.55 lbs.
    3. Pilots operating UAS for purposes of recording or transmitting visual images must take all reasonable measures to avoid violations of areas normally considered private.
    4. Ensure the UAS weigh less than 55 pounds if operating under Part 107.
    5. Do not interfere with any manned aircraft.
    6. Remain under 400 feet in elevation; or higher than any other maximum altitude restriction for the area in which the drone is flying.
    7. Do not be careless or reckless with your UAS. You could be fined by the FAA for endangering people, property, or other aircrafts.
    8. Do not operate the UAS over a group of people unless the aircraft and operation conform to the regulatory requirements for flight over people. Do not operate the UAS over any individual that is not directly participating in the operation of the UAS unless the operation complies with the regulatory requirements for such operations.

      View the FAA requirements and safe operation guidelines for full descriptions.
  2. UASs weighing 55lbs or more must apply for a Special Airworthiness Certificate (SAC) and a 333 Exemptionprior to flying. UASs weighing less than 55lbs. must follow the FAA Small Unmanned Aircraft Rule (Part 107) or conduct operations according to a current 333 exemption. Proof of SAC, COA, 333 Exemption or Remote Pilot in Command Certification (Part 107) must be submitted to the SUU Risk Management Office.
  3. Complete the SUU Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) Use Application for UASs Operated by Third Party Vendors/Contractors. This includes, but not limited to:
    1. A detailed Flight Plan
    2. Proof of liability insurance covering Aviation & Drone use, by way of a certificate of insurance, of not less than $1 Million per occurrence and $3 Million Aggregate listing Southern Utah University as additionally insured. Please see the SUU Risk Management Insurance Requirements for more information.
    3. A signed SUU Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) Use Indemnification Agreement which holds the University harmless from any resulting claims or harm to individuals and damage to property.
  4. After executing your flight plan, close it out by contacting the SUU Safety and Risk Management Director (send an email to humes@suu.edu) and the FAA as appropriate.
  5. Part 107/Commercial operations must conform to an airspace waiver issued by the FAA or the Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability program (LAANC) when operating in controlled airspace. Information about LAANC may be found online. Operators operating in accordance with LAANC must receive a FAA Controlled Airspace authorization through an approved LAANC provider prior to flying in any controlled airspace. The airspace surrounding the SUU campus and most of Cedar City, UT is controlled airspace and must follow these procedures.

    Because of the SUU campus proximity to an airport with high volumes of aircraft activity and instrument approach procedures, notification is suggested to the Cedar City Regional Airport at least one day prior to planned flight.
  6. Report all accidents to the SUU Risk Management Office in the event of injuries to any person or property damage.

    Report all accidents to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) regulations as required.
    1. According to the FAA, accidents resulting in serious injury to any person or any loss of consciousness, or damage to property, other than the UAS, if the cost to repair or replace is greater than $500 must be reported to the FAA within 10 days of the operation.
    2. According to the NTSB, Unmanned aircraft accident means an occurrence associated with the operation of any public or civil unmanned aircraft system that takes place between the time that the system is activated with the purpose of flight and the time that the system is deactivated at the conclusion of its mission, in which:
      1. Any person suffers death or serious injury; or
      2. The aircraft has a maximum gross takeoff weight of 300 pounds or greater and sustains substantial damage.

Read the NTSB reporting guidelines, Title 49 C.F.R. Part 830, and the UAS Accident Reporting for more information.