2.4 Frequently Asked Questions

When doing an academic activity, which set of regulations is better?

There are advantages and disadvantages to both scenarios. In many cases, the new ‘Recreational Operations’ may be the fastest path forward for simple, rural flight operations. At the current time, academic UAS activities that plan on flying in certain controlled airspace areas, over occupied structures, within 25 ft of another person, or outside of a reasonably controlled flying site, should proceed with 14 CFR 107 regulations.

What does it mean to get approval from the FAA to operate within controlled airspace?

The FAA is mandating that all controlled airspace access requests for recreational operations be routed through the Low Altitude Authorization Notification Capability system (LAANC) and not by calling the local airport tower. The LAANC system can provide instantaneous authorization via a 3rd party application such as Airmap, KittyHawk, or UASideKick for flight requests below a certain altitude depending on your location.

I am planning to fly over a research site that is access controlled and the airspace is uncontrolled, do I need a Drone License?

Typically not. This common scenario will typically meet the necessary site requirements for Recreational Operations.

I am planning to fly along the beach to monitor coastal erosion, do I need a Drone License?

Unless the beach is to be closed to the public, this scenario will likely require a Drone License.

I am planning on flying in the campus quad to test a flight controller, do I need a Drone License?

If the airspace is uncontrolled (Class G), and the area within the campus is sufficiently cleared and closed to non-participants, then you do not need a Drone License and can get the TRUST certificate. However, there are some parts of some of the UC campuses that are in controlled airspace where a Drone License is required. Please check with your Campus Drone Point of Contact for more information.

I do not have a Drone License, can I do a coursework assignment on the use of drones in building inspections with a TRUST certificate?

You may be able to do some flying with only a TRUST certificate, however, you will not be allowed to fly over a building and must stay at least 25 ft from all non-participants, which may limit your ability to conduct effective analysis.

I am a graduate student Teaching Assistant and I would like to teach my students how to fly a drone? Do I need a license? Do the students need a license?

If the site is sufficiently cleared and closed to non-participants, than everyone may have a chance to learn how to fly a drone with only a TRUST certificate and any instructor may only have a TRUST certificate. However, additional safety precautions may be necessary and as an instructor, you will be responsible for ensuring the safety of the students and the site.