Standard Guidance

  • All UAS activity must establish a buffer or safe-zone between the Unmanned Aircraft and any non-participating persons or sensitive locations.
    • A good rule-of-thumb is to maintain a buffer or safe-zone of roughly \(\frac{1}{4}^{th}\) of the flight altitude.
  • Visual Observers and supporting ground crew should be utilized when available.
    • Supporting ground crew should assist in ensuring safety to all non-participating persons.
  • All members of the flight crew must be conspicuous and wear professional, identifying apparel such as university-branded hats, shirts or lanyards with IDs.
  • High visibility reflective vests must be worn when operating near roads or in parking lots.
  • When operating in fenced areas, operate exclusively within the fenced areas unless there is sufficient visibility on the other side to ensure safety to non-participants.
  • Never fly in areas where UAS activity is prohibited or restricted.
  • Always be a good neighbor and ensure that your UAS activity is not disruptive to other authorized activities.
UAS operators with high visiblity vests, UC Merced

Figure 1: UAS operators with high visiblity vests, UC Merced

Operating on Campus or other busy locations

  • Utilize the UC UAS Mission Planning Template (link) to systematically develop your flight plan
  • When operating in uncontrolled locations in proximity to non-participating persons, extra care should be exercised. Specific flight paths and altitudes should be pre-planned such that potential gaps in buffer or safe-zones can be identified.
  • High visibility vests are recommended, but not required when near nonparticipants or in public areas
  • Orange cones may be used to help communicate Unmanned Aircraft flight regions to non-participating persons, but are not fully sufficient.
    • Supplement any portable pedestrian control equipment (cones, caution tape, signs) with ground personnel
  • If spectators are expected, a supporting ground crew member should be tasked with preventing spectators from distracting the RPIC with questions or comments.
  • When operating near roads, a supporting ground crew member should be tasked with being located near the road to monitor traffic, and if necessary, retrieve a fallen Unmanned Aircraft before it becomes a road hazard.
  • Flying above buildings and structures minimizes risk to pedestrians, but it is recommended to contact the facility manager to properly evaluate the potential risks. Some campus buildings are outfitted with research or communication equipment on rooftops.