Drones/Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)
Mines has a UAS/Drone policy available in the Policy Library, under Facilities, Property, and Safety category. The use of these unmanned crafts (rotary or fixed wing) is available for Mines’ mission. Recreational flight is not currently allowed at Mines. Please read the policy and ensure the appropriate registrations, insurance, and certifications are obtained. Any questions may be directed to the Compliance & Policy Office by calling 303-384-2546 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Checklist: There are a number of steps to take pre and post flight to ensure Drone/UAS safety on the Mines campus. View and download the Mines UAS checklist here.
Faculty and/or Staff interested in using Drones weighing between .5lb. and 55 lbs. for research, education, or service to Mines and the community must do the following PRIOR to flight of the UAS:
- Registration. Register craft with the FAA as Mines’ owned equipment and affix appropriate “tail” numbers to vehicle/system
- Insurance. Complete the information for the Compliance & Policy Office regarding the UAS, the pilot, usage, and location
- Piloting. To fly a Drone for Mines’ activities, research, educational efforts, the pilot must be a UAS licensed pilot or a regular sport or recreational pilot in good standing and provide proof of licensing to Compliance & Policy Office.
- UAS must be in Visual Line of Sight (unaided) and flown between 30 minutes after sunrise to 30 minutes prior to sunset at the location and not exceed 400 feet Above Ground Level (AGL).
- One pilot per UAS in flight only.
- Two Usages. Research use (including sponsored or non-sponsored research) or Educational use (see below under Student).
- Safety. The pilot or department that engages a pilot is responsible for the maintenance and use (including recommended Mines’ Safety Procedures) of the UAS. Licenses must be current and on the person when flying the UAS.
- Planning: create a safety plan, maintenance schedule, and document all. Keep all documentation with you during UAS usage.
- Location: On campus, UAS may ONLY be flown in limited locations, including the Mines’ Survey Field (south of Mines’ Park and West of Highway 6, map here). With appropriate approval, the North IM Field may be used if unoccupied and cordoned off.
- UAS may not be flown over people or JeffCo space, nor may they be used in Federal lands.
- UAS may not be flown within 5 miles of an airport, heliport, etc. without prior permission.
- For all indoor flight or usage in the EDGAR Mines, the pilot should obtain approval to use the space. Some spaces have restrictions regarding usage. Contact the Building Proctor and Facilities Management in advance for more information.
- Outside of Mines, airspace is categorized as restricted or allowable. Check with the FAA to determine the location of each type of airspace.
- No hazardous materials may be in or attached to the UAS. Weight limit may not exceed 55 lbs. including payload. If the payload is Export Controlled equipment, additional review is required prior to use by ORA.
- Travel. Prior to hand-carrying, shipping, sending in luggage, etc. out of the continental US, please consult with ORA or Compliance & Policy Office regarding the UAS. See also Export Controls.
- Recording. Video and photographic recording of people must be pre-approved and may require waivers or other documentation.
Licensing small UAS/drones: FAA licensing of the craft is handled through the Federal Aviation Administration and the cost is minimal. The registration (aka Tail) numbers must be on the UAS and registered with the Compliance & Policy Office for tracking. Please update the Compliance Office on crafts that are no longer in service or newly acquired crafts.
Pilots: FAA requires small UAS pilots to be licensed to fly for research or commercial purposes. If the Pilot has a certification for manned aircraft, they do not need to take the UAS pilot exam.
Insurance for Mines’ UAS: Insurance on the usage of the UAS is available through Mines’ additional insurance policy. The policy is no cost to the employee unless specific hull or payload coverage is requested. Registration of the UAS with the Compliance & Policy Office is required for approved flight and to ensure insurance coverage.
Contact the Office of Compliance & Policy by visiting our webpage.
The FAA published an interpretation of “Educational Usage” that specifies when the usage is allowed and the requirements of such usage. The Compliance & Policy Office assists the faculty and staff to determine appropriate usage. See the form below. Regular, recreational/hobbyist use is not currently allowed on, over, or from/to campus. This small usage category applies when a student operates a UAS to further their aviation-related education at an accredited educational institution, and not merely for hobby or recreation.
Generally, the student hobbyist may not (1) fly UAS on behalf of Mines’ or a faculty/staff member in place of proper licensing or (2) receive any compensation (e.g., on/from a research project) related to that person’s operation of the aircraft at such events. This would transform the use to commercial or research, which has specific guidelines provided above.
Location, Safety Worksheet, and Recording requirements identified above apply to the Student use of UAS. Faculty may not pilot the UAS for Student/Educational use except in emergency circumstances.
FAA Memorandum on Educational Use of UAS (May 4, 2016)
Due to the nature of the UAS and the risk to the person(s) and structures on campus, no use by visitors is allowed.
Mines wants to ensure the safety of its community. Should you have an accident while operating a UAS, notify the Compliance & Policy Office by email or phone.
- Where to Fly at Mines: (see policy)
- Where to Fly Outside of Mines (restricted and allowable airspace): https://www.faa.gov/uas/where_to_fly/
- Smartphone App: //www.faa.gov/uas/where_to_fly/b4ufly/
- UAS Safety Checklist