Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)


Responsible Administrative Unit:  Compliance, Policy, and Risk Management

Policy Contacts: Executive Director of Compliance, Policy & Risk Management, Natalie Vega (compliance@mines.edu)

This policy is linked from the Safety, Facilities, Parking, and Property and Student sections of the policy library.


The Colorado School of Mines (Mines) supports the safe and responsible use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS, UAV, Drones, or RPV) in research, educational activities, and other endeavors furthering Mines’ mission. Requirements for the creation, procurement, operation, use, and/or decommissioning of UAV’s by Mines’ community members anywhere when performed as Mines’ employees or as a Mines’ activity or event, (including students, vendors or guests) on or above Mines property (or area of control).


Take-off, landing, and flight of Unmanned Aircraft Systems must comply with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) laws and regulations, applicable State law, and Mines procedures and standards. Compliance with these legal obligations includes UAS purchased, built, or acquired prior to the adoption of this policy. Recreational hobbyist, and/or non-educational/academic use of UAS is not allowed from, to, on, or above Mines’ campus.


3.1 Purchase & Insurance. UAS purchased, operated or built with Mines’ funds or resources, (including funds from research grants, funds, donations, etc.) are Mines’ property. Mines’ employee(s) purchasing a UAS for Mines’ purposes must inform the Compliance & Policy office prior to completing the purchase to ensure that the UAS is covered under applicable insurance policies. The user must inform Compliance and Policy Office when UAS are updated, enhanced, or no longer in use for proper insurance scheduling.

3.2 FAA Registration. The user must register UAS with the FAA and affix tail/FAA registration numbers to the UAS. Mines’ is the owner and the FAA contact is the Compliance office.

3.3 Piloting. UAS pilots must obtain and maintain the appropriate level of licensing required by the FAA. Pilots retain licensing documentation and keep it on their person along with the FAA registration certificate during UAS usage.

3.4 Usage. UAS may be used for research, educational activities, and other Mines activities when the use is pursuant to the following:

  1. a section 333 Exemption issued by the FAA;
  2. a Certification of Waiver or Authorization (COA) issued by the FAA;
  3. the FAA’s small UAS Rule Part 107; or
  4. by following other FAA guidance concerning student operations.

The Compliance & Policy Office assists users in determining appropriate requirements.

3.5 Reporting. Any injury to persons or damage to property (including animals in the flight areas) must be reported to the Compliance & Policy Office within three business days of the occurrence.

3.6 Responsibility. Users must comply with current FAA regulations and Mines’ procedures and standards, including understanding safety, restrictions, and locations available for flight, on and off campus.

3.6.1 Safety. Mines’ UAS user or contractor is responsible for following all safety standards, (e.g., maintenance, training) and other steps designated by Mines’ or the FAA. (See Resources)

3.6.2 Locations. The Mines’ Survey field (south of Mines’ Park) and the EDGAR Mine (inside) are available for flight scheduling. Additionally, the Mines’ North IM Field may be used if pre-approved, not occupied, and appropriately cordoned off.

3.7 Recording; Privacy. Recordings or transmissions from the UAS that may identify person(s) may be subject to additional Mines’ policies, requirements, or restrictions, and may require waivers, releases, or consent forms.

3.7.1 Research. For research on human subjects using a UAS, consult the Office of Research Administration for more information.

3.7.2 Privacy. UAS must not be used to monitor or record areas where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy. These areas include, but are not limited to, restrooms, locker rooms, changing or dressing rooms, residential or dorm rooms, health and/or counseling treatment rooms, and neighboring or residential areas.

3.8 International Use. For UAS use in foreign countries and when foreign nationals are involved in any Mines’ activity using UAS, the Department of Legal Services and the Office of Research Administration will assist in determining legal requirements and verifying that requirements have been met.


Failure to follow the policy may result in discipline to the person based on the category of employment or student status. A visitor’s failure to comply may result in other actions up to and including exclusion from campus. The Mines’ Department of Public Safety may request proof of documentation including the pilot’s license, FAA registration (i.e., section 3) and the approval to take-off, land, or fly in or above Mines’ areas. The pilot is responsible for carrying this documentation, electronic or paper, during all vehicle usage outdoors.


The policy will be reviewed at least biennially, or as needed by the Responsible Administrative Unit.
Issued: February 7, 2017.

  • COA or Certificate of Waiver or Authorization is a certificate granted to an individual or entity by the FAA, which outlines specific conditions for flight and permits the operation of a particular aircraft, for a particular purpose, in a particular area. An entity must submit a formal application when requesting a COA from the FAA for either “public” or civil UAS operation.
  • Campus Property includes any real property (“land”), buildings owned or operated by Mines, including the EDGAR Mine.
  • 333 Exemption Section 333 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (FMRA) grants the Secretary of Transportation the authority to determine whether an airworthiness certificate is required for a UAS to operate safely in the National Airspace System (NAS). The FAA issues the 333 Exemption to individuals or entities seeking to operate a UAS for civil and non-governmental purpose and activities after the review and approval of a formal application to the FAA by the operator and entity.
  • Part 107 Small Unmanned Aircraft Rule (14 CFR Part 107) provides guidelines for licensing, registration, and operation of UAS/small Drones, between .55 and 55 pounds (total weight including aircraft) by a Remote Pilot in Command (rPIC).
  • Remote Pilot in Command (or rPIC) is a person holding a pilot certificate with sUAS rating and may be referred to as the Pilot in this policy
  • Unmanned Aircraft Systems consist of an unmanned aircraft and the equipment necessary for the safe and efficient operation of that craft. FAA regulations apply to “UAS” regardless of size or weight, payload or intent. A UAS is defined by statute as an aircraft that is operated without the possibility of direct human intervention from within or on the aircraft (Public Law 112-95, Section 331(8)). A UAS is also commonly known as a drone, unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), or remotely piloted vehicle (RPV).

Keywords: drone, UAS, UAV, RPV, unmanned, aircraft, FAA, airspace, export control, flight, recording


Fed/State/Local Resources
FAA 14 CFR Part 107 Summary & Full Regulation
FAA Guidance Educational Use
Mobile app – B4UFLY (free)
Remote Pilot sUAS Study Guide
NTIA Voluntary Best Practices 4
UAS Privacy

MINES Resources
Mines’ University Facilities’ Use Manual
Mines’ Safety Worksheet
Legal Services, 303-273-3325
ORA 303-384-3319, ora@mines.edu