Chapter 16 Frequently Asked Questions

This is a list of Frequently Asked Questions related to the Policy and its implementation.

A short list of Frequently Asked Questions for end-users can be found at:

16.1 Scope of the Policy

  • Why is oversight necessary?

    There are many arguments for the UC to mandate oversight; not all of them may be applicable for every situation but collectively form sufficient justification. The UC has an obligation to be fully compliant with all applicable regulations. In some cases, there are specific regulatory compliance obligations to meet. In other cases, the UC’s UAS insurance has compliance obligations. There are many concerns over the usage of UAS on-campus from a public safety and privacy perspective. In other cases, there are arguments that UC business use should be able to take priority over 3rd Party use. None of these determinations can be made unless there is a mechanism to screen for issues. It must be noted that the Policy does not prohibit procedures to ensure an alternative means of compliance.

  • The FAA has already created UAS regulations. Why is the Policy necessary?

    The FAA has sole jurisdiction of the airspace and overflight, however this is also the extent of their jurisdiction. The FAA regulations do not address other regulatory compliance issues such as export control, privacy, trespass harassment of wildlife or other land-use issues. The FAA regulations also do not address the prioritization of University Business or other campus policies on commercial use or filming. In addition, FAA regulations regarding UAS are in flux and may change with acts of Congress, court cases and through traditional rule making processes. Incorrect interpretations of UAS regulations is common. The Policy enables oversight to ensure compliance while regulations are in flux.

  • Does this policy apply to balloons and/or rockets?

    The policy does not apply to balloons or rockets.

  • Does the policy apply to international UAS activity?

    Yes, the policy applies to international UAS activity. The policy requires that UAS activity must comply with all applicable regulations; in the case of international locations, the applicable regulations would be the local regulations of the international site. To the extent that safety practices or best practices may differ internationally, the UAS activity should be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

  • Is possession of a Remote Pilot Certificate sufficient for approval for UAS activity?

    The Remote Pilot Certificate is an indication that the RPIC passed a knowledge exam. It does not attest to the quality of the RPIC’s experience with flying UAS or the RPIC’s knowledge of safety practices. By itself, the Remote Pilot Certificate is not sufficient in all cases. However, where UAS activity risk is mitigated through other means such as remote location, or while operating a low risk Unmanned Aircraft, simply having earned the Remote Pilot Certificate may be sufficient.

  • What would happen if there’s a disagreement between the Designated Local Authority and the Systemwide Designated UAS Authority?

    In most cases, if a Designated Local Authority is appointed, the Designated Local Authority would adjudicate the final ruling. If there is a question over regulatory compliance, the Systemwide Designated UAS Authority and General Counsel would adjudicate clarification over the regulatory compliance aspect.

  • What are the consequences of failing to abide by policy?

    Existing policies address non-compliance. On how enforcement action is to be handled (as directed at a system level) for policy violations, please refer to PACAOS 100.00 for students, PPSM 62-65 for staff, APM 015-016 for faculty, and APM 140,150 for non-senate academic appointees.

16.2 Requesting a UAS Flight

  • What information is required for a Flight Request?

    The policy states that the request must provide sufficient information to complete the review requirements on `Compliance with applicable regulations and policies, impacts to public safety, impacts to privacy, impacts to civil rights and civil liberties and compliance with insurance requirements.’ Of note, the policy does not mandate submitting a precise date/time of flight in all cases, but there are several cases where it may be necessary.

  • Does the policy require a 14-day lead time per flight?

    The policy does not require a 14-day lead time per flight. The policy requires that UAS activity requires prior approval (which must be reviewed within 14 days), but does not place a pre-defined requirement for advance notice nor does it limit the terms and conditions of an approval. As described in Chapter 5, a researcher may be granted standing approval to operate a designated location under a set of agreed upon terms and conditions.

  • Does the policy require each individual flight to go through an approval process?

    No. The Policy mandates that a UAS Request Form be submitted and reviewed in advanced of UAS activity. This may cover one flight, a set of flights, or a years’ worth of flight. Unfortunately, it is difficult to assign a definition of the scope of a UAS `activity’ – such a definition may be tied to regulatory issues, safety issues, or even scheduling issues.

  • What if the weather is unsatisfactory during an approved ‘window?’

    It is recommended that the terms of approval include procedures to address contingencies such as rescheduling. In situations where changes to a specified time window has no effect on coordination or safety, there may be no need to resubmit or require a second review. However, there may be situations where scheduling may be necessary.

  • Is the UAS Advisory Board needed to provide a blanket approval?

    The UAS Advisory Board is intended to address systemwide issues and policy exceptions rather than campus-level decisions. The Policy explicitly allows for a Designated Local Authority to grant recurrent or standing approvals.

  • May a Designated Local Authority require only a $1Mil aviation liability coverage for a 3rd party user?

    It is recommended that all 3rd party UAS activity is covered under a $5Mil aviation liability insurance policy. A local Designated Local Authority may opt to reduce the minimum coverage requirements with consultation from local Risk Services.

  • I am an international student. What am I allowed to do?

    An international student is eligible to obtain a Part 107 Remote Pilot Certificate. However, any aircraft operated by a foreign national is considered a foreign aircraft and is subject to 14 CFR 375 permitting requirements. There are a few exemptions - a common notable one is that if the UAS is registered to the Regents of the University of California, it is flown for University Business and the operator is employed by the UC, then the operation is exempt from a 14 CFR 375 permit. The UC Center of Excellence on UAS Safety can assist in determining the exact requirements of the operation and whether a 14 CFR 375 permit is required.

16.3 Oversight of the Policy and Future Policies

  • What mechanisms are in place to monitor the Policy?

    The Policy calls for a UAS Advisory Board to continue the development of future UAS policies, evaluating the effectiveness of systemwide policies and safety metrics. The reporting and recording requirement of the policy is intended to be able to provide the UAS Advisory Board with relevant performance information.

  • What mechanisms are in place to ensure that the campuses develop effective and efficient processes and procedures?

    The Policy mandates that the Systemwide Designated UAS Authority provide a forum to communicate and share UAS related information and best practices, and coordinate the development of University UAS policies through taskforces or working groups.

  • Can this policy be changed or how would future policies be developed?

    The Policy calls for a UAS Advisory Board to continue the development of future UAS policies, evaluating the effectiveness of systemwide policies and safety metrics. The UAS Advisory Board will be the starting point for recommendations for changes to the Policy and future policy development.

  • What will the UAS Advisory Board discuss?

    The UAS Advisory Board is expected to review the performance of the Policy and make recommendations for policy refinement and improvement. It may be tasked to generate a report on the status and use of UAS in the UC, address challenges related to new regulations on overflight of people or on the use of UAS delivery services to, from and within the UC. As UAS technology and regulations change, the UAS Advisory Board is intended to provide a steering guide to keep the UC compliant and competitive.