Faculty or Staff

The Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”) considers faculty and staff who operate a UAS while within the scope of their employment to be flying for business or commercial purposes.  Faculty and staff should follow the process outlined for commercial operators in 14 CFR 107 – Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS), or more commonly referred to as “Part 107.”  Links to Part 107 can be found below.

Faculty and staff must follow the process below prior to operating a UAS on, or above, University property. Drones operated in violation of these guidelines, or in violation of FAA regulations, federal, state, or local laws, or contract provisions will be subject to grounding.  Violations by faculty and staff may be referred to the appropriate disciplinary process. Contact the Office of Risk Management and Regulatory Compliance with questions or concerns – riskadmin@syr.edu.

Training and Testing

  • Faculty and staff must complete FAA training prior to flight on or above campus.
  • Part 61 pilot certificate holders with a current flight review must complete the FAA’s training course. There are two options for completing the training
    • ALC-451: Part 107 Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS). https://www.faasafety.gov/, or
    • The initial FAA Unmanned Aircraft General (UAG) Knowledge Test at a Knowledge Testing Center (KTC)
  • All other applicants must complete the ALC-451: Part 107 Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) training course (https://www.faasafety.gov/ ) and pass the initial FAA Unmanned Aircraft General (UAG) Knowledge Test at a Knowledge Testing Center (KTC). Knowledge Testing Centers: knowledge-testing-centers

Applying for a Remote Pilot Certificate

  • Faculty and staff must have a Remote Pilot Airman Certificate, a Section 333 exemption, or otherwise be certified to operate a drone by the FAA prior to flight.
  • Faculty and staff must submit a copy of their Remote Pilot Airman Certificate or other FAA authorization to the Office of Risk Management prior to flight.

Registering your UAS

  • All UAS operators – You must register your UAS with the FAA prior to operating on, or above, University property or for university operations if the UAS weighs more than 0.55 lbs.

Marking your UAS

  • Mark your UAS to identify that it is registered with the FAA. The marking number must be a unique identifier number, legible, durable and visible or accessible without tools.

Insurance

  • Prior to any flight, the UAS description and serial number must be on file with the Office of Risk Management and Regulatory Compliance for insurance to apply. Include this information when submitting your flight request.

Flight Plans

  • Submit a detailed flight plan to the Office of Risk Management and Regulatory Compliance (riskadmin@syr.edu) prior to operating UAS on, or above, University property using this form:  (Drone Request Form)
  • Provide prior notice of all flights to the SUNY Upstate Heliport and Hancock International Airport control towers. Drones that fly within 5 statute miles of an airport, including heliports, must provide the airport and the control tower (if one exists) with prior notice of the operation. Marshall Street is 5.02 statute miles from Hancock International Airport and the entire campus is within 5 statute miles of the SUNY Upstate Heliport.

Approvals and Exceptions

  • All faculty and staff flights must be pre-approved by the Office of Risk Management and Regulatory Compliance.
  • Any photography that is done for research purposes and that involves photographs or video of living people should be documented as part of a study that is registered with the IRB.

Maintaining Privacy

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

Crew Resource Management

  • 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.  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.

Waivers for operating outside the structure of Part 107

  • If the operation cannot be conducted within the regulatory structure of part 107, the Remote PIC is responsible for submitting an application for a Certificate of Waiver and proposing a safe alternative to the FAA. Only certain provisions of part 107 are waivable. The FAA will determine if the proposed operation can be safely conducted under the terms of that Certificate of Waiver.

Accident Reporting

  • 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.
  • File a report with Risk Management in the event of property damage or injuries to any person.

Additional Safety Guidelines

  1. Operate in accordance with a community-based set of guidelines and within the programming of a nationwide community-based organization.
  2. Ensure the UAS Weighs less than 55 pounds.
  3. Never interfere with any manned aircraft.
  4. UAS must always be within the operator’s visual line-of-sight unaided by a visual enhancement device (e.g. binoculars).
  5. Do not be careless or reckless with your UAS. You could be fined by the FAA for endangering people, property or other aircraft.
  6. Do not operate the UAS over a crowd of people without informing every person in the crowd that you are operating the UAS.
  7. Do not operate the UAS over any individual that is unaware you are operating the UAS.
  8. Report all incidents, including near misses, to the office of Risk Management and Regulatory Compliance.
  9. Pilots operating UAS for purposes of recording or transmitting visual images must take all reasonable measures to avoid violations of areas normally considered private.
  10. Remain under 400 feet in elevation.