Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) are regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FFA) to facilitate the integration of UAS safely into the National Air System (NAS). Unmanned Aircraft Systems are regulated for reasons of safety, efficiency, and capacity. The FAA has developed rules, regulations, policies, and procedures to support safe integration. In support of the efforts by the FAA, the Texas A&M AgriLife Ethics and Compliance Office has established a Supervising Authority to oversee safe and compliant UAS and model aircraft activity. Texas A&M AgriLife is committed to operating UAS in accordance with FAA rules and regulations, the Texas A&M System regulations and agency rules and procedures.
UAS Approval Process Texas A&M AgriLife-Off Campus Research, Extension & TVMDL
Texas A&M AgriLife has established a Supervising Authority to review and approve UAS flights that occur by employees outside of Brazos County excluding the Brazos Bottom Farm. This approval process applies to agency employees, vendors, visitors, and students operating UAS on any property owned or leased by the agency, or employees operating UAS on property not owned or leased by the agency as part of their employment.
All applications should be submitted a minimum of 15 business days before desired flight date.
There are three ways to fly UAS at Texas A&M AgriLife Research, Extension or TVMDL facilities:
- In accordance with an FAA-issued Public
- In accordance with FAA Part 107 rules.
- For educational purposes
Hobbyists are not allowed to fly UAS on Texas A&M AgriLife Research, Extension or TVMDL property.
(Exemptions for educational or demonstration purposes upon request may be granted)
To fly UAS in accordance with an FAA-issued Public COA or in accordance with FAA Part 107 rules:
- Submit your application to the Texas A&M AgriLife Supervising Authority through the following link: https://www.tamus.edu/business/risk-management/uas/uas-application/ . Applications should be submitted a minimum of 15 business days before desired flight.
- Applications along with all requested documentation should be provided to avoid delays in processing applications. (list provided below):
- Picture of drone(s) showing the FAA# and asset number listed on the outside of the drone.
- UAS certification of registration for each drone listed.
- UAS pilot certification(s) for all pilots listed.
- Current Contingency Management Plan.
- System Risk Management and Insurance Matrix
- Completed on-line applications will be reviewed by the Supervising Authority; any questions will be directed to the individual who completed the application.
- The Supervising Authority reserves the right to cancel or re-schedule any approved UAS usage, if doing so is in the best interest of the agency. Note: If an accident occurs during flight, the remote pilot in command (RPIC) is responsible for submitting an accident report to the Texas A&M AgriLife Supervising Authority within 48 hours. This report will be retained with the original application and associated documents.
To fly a UAS for educational/demonstration purposes:
Submit the following information to Ethics and Compliance through email at email@example.com:
- Name of Center or Department
- Name and contact information of AgriLife employee responsible for the demonstration or educational lesson
- Description of UAS to be flown
- Registration number of UAS to be flown
- Area requested for flight
- Description of activities related to UAS flight. Note that educational/demonstration use of UAS only allows the visitors to fly the UAS; employee’s role must be incidental and secondary to the visitor’s (e.g., regain control in the event the visitor begins to lose control, terminate the flight, etc.).
Summary of Responsibilities.
- The Remote Pilot in Command (RPIC) is responsible for all components associated with safe flight of the UAS and compliance with applicable FAA rules and regulations.
- The applicant granted approval for use is responsible for any damage resulting from the use of UAS on AgriLife property. If the applicant is an AgriLife employee/department, using a third-party contractor to operate UAS, liability for damage must be otherwise assigned contractually to this third party. See insurance requirements below.
- The RPIC must submit an Accident Report to the Supervising Authority within 48 hours of any accident that occurs during an approved flight.
Summary of Requirements:
- The insurance requirements associated with use of UAS on AgriLife property will be determined by University Risk Management, in consultation with A&M System Risk Management.
- For insurance requirements refer to System Regulation 24.01.07.3.6
- All AgriLife-owned or acquired UAS must be properly registered in accordance with FAA requirements. Use the FAA’s Web site to register UAS: https://registermyuas.faa.gov/. Additionally, all UAS must be placed on inventory and have an asset number assigned.
- For definitions related to the UAS Program, refer to System Regulation 24.01.07 .
System Risk Management UAS information:
- System Risk Management UAS Information https://www.tamus.edu/business/risk-management/risk-analysis-and-control/guide/
- System Policies
- AgriLife Procedures – The new Texas A&M AgriLife Unmanned Aircraft Systems Procedures were approved effective June 25, 2018.
- UAS Flight Authorization Application https://www.tamus.edu/business/risk-management/uas/uas-application/
- UAV registration at the FAA: https://registermyuas.faa.gov/.
- Part 107 FAA rules and regulations: https://www.faa.gov/uas/commercial_operators/
- COA FAA rules and regulations: https://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/ato/service_units/systemops/aaim/organizations/uas/coa/
- Texas A&M University System Worker’s Compensation Hold Harmless Agreement https://www.tamus.edu/business/risk-management/risk-analysis-and-control/risk-management-forms/
- The Texas A&M University System Risk Management and Insurance Matrix http://assets.system.tamus.edu/files/safety/pdf/SystemRiskAssessmentMatrix.pdf
Training: Authorization for flight under Part 107 requires a Remote Pilot Certification: you can obtain training at any of the suggested entities below. (Not required entities to use)
Once you have received training you must take an aeronautical knowledge exam at an FAA-approved testing center to obtain your certification. Below is a link to the FAA-approved facilities.
Iana Greive and Jenny Green with AgriLife Ethics & Compliance Office will be your contacts for any questions concerning Unmanned Aircraft Systems. Please contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 979.862.2689.