Remotely Operated Aircraft Systems / Drones

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Murray State University
SUBJECT: Remotely Operated Aircraft Systems / Drones
APPLIES TO: FACULTY & STAFF (applicable to students via reference in Student Life Policies)
EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2023

Remotely Operated Aircraft Systems / Drones

  1. Definitions
    1. For purposes of this policy, “ROAS” means:
      An aircraft and associated control elements - including communication systems, cameras, sensors and payload delivery mechanisms - used by the operator to safely and efficiently operate the aircraft remotely.
    2. For purposes of this policy, “remotely operated aircraft” or “drone” means:
      An aircraft that is operated without the possibility of direct human intervention either upon or within the aircraft and that is operated remotely.
  2. Policy Statement

    In furtherance of the University mission to advance student learning and research opportunities, and in the interest of applying knowledge and skills safely and efficiently, the University embraces the technologies and learning opportunities available with remotely operated aircraft systems and the variety of applications these systems provide for the university and its students. In addition to applicable state and federal laws concerning the use of drones, this policy states University rules related to their permissible and safe operation.

  3. University ROAS / Drones Committee

    A committee to monitor the safe operation of drones on campus is authorized to review and approve applications from both internal and external operators to launch, fly and land drones on campus property. The committee is convened by the VPFAS or designee and is comprised of the VPFAS or designee, the Provost or designee, a dean, a member of the Academic Affairs drone committee, and the Chief of Police or designee. Applications to operate drones must include a safety plan, a flight plan and list the qualifications of the operator(s). The committee is authorized to grant authorization to a single user for multiple dates or for the course of a semester or academic year.

  4. Operation

    1. Pursuant to the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 and the implementing regulations related thereto, drones are permitted for use by faculty, staff and students when such use is related to academic instruction, academic research and other academic activities approved by the University ROAS / Drones committee.
    2. Outdoor use of drones by faculty, staff and students for academic purposes requires the supervision or coordination by an FAA certified pilot who has a remote pilot certificate with a small aircraft rating, or by individual operators who have passed the required aeronautical knowledge and safety test.
    3. Use of drones for academic, non-academic and commercial purposes by University personnel must be approved in advance by the University’s ROAS / Drone committee unless exceptional circumstances require immediate use in which case the Vice President for Finance and Administrative Services can authorize such use.
    4. Non-university personnel who operate drones on or over campus property for university or non-university purposes must submit a request to the University’s ROAS / Drone committee at least three business days prior to operation. Commercial operators must have current licensure and/or registration in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations. Media must contact the office of Branding, Marketing and Communication twenty-four hours before operating a drone on campus property.
    5. Operating a drone inside university buildings is prohibited unless authorized by the building coordinator or the head administrator of the building. Authorization should be communicated to the University ROAS / Drone committee as soon as practicable.
    6. All University owned drones must be registered with University Procurement Services.
  5. Policy Violations

    Violations of this policy by members of the campus community may be addressed through the appropriate process including MSU Student Life Policies, Rules and Procedures; the MSU Faculty Handbook, and MSU Personnel Policies and Procedures Manual Policy VI C, Employee Discipline; or other applicable regulations and policies.

  6. Supplementation of this Policy

    1. The University ROAS / Drone committee is authorized to expand this policy provided that such additions are not inconsistent with the policy as it exists on the date of approval, and as authorized by the University President.
    2. The President is authorized to amend or supplement this Policy if necessary to be consistent with state or federal law.

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