New Mississippi State UAS Policy Based on ‘Best Practices, Current Law’

Mississippi State University (MSU) has updated its policy on both commercial and recreational unmanned aircraft systems operations (UAS) on school property.

MSU leads the Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence (ASSURE), the Federal Aviation Administration’s Center of Excellence for UAS. According to David Shaw, vice president for research and economic development at MSU, ASSURE helped create the university’s new policy.

“This updated policy clearly defines acceptable usage of UAS and model aircraft on university property,” Shaw says.

The policy covers the operation of UAS, including model aircraft, by employees, students and third parties as part of a university program or activity; operations by any person on or above MSU-owned or -controlled property; and purchase of UAS with MSU funds, including appropriated, self-generated, sponsored research funds or funds from affiliated entities.

The policy includes a list of generally applicable UAS and model aircraft policies and procedures, including as follows:

—Anyone operating an unmanned aircraft is responsible for complying with FAA regulations and notices, state and federal laws, and MSU policy.

—Any MSU units, employees or students who desire to operate a UAS as part of their employment or for a university program or activity must first obtain FAA authorization. Copies of the authorization should be filed with officials at Raspet Flight Research Laboratory prior to operation.

—Anyone, including vendors and other third parties, wishing to use a UAS for anything other than recreational purposes on MSU property must first receive written approval from the RFRL UAS safety officer, sign a liability waiver and provide insurance as required.

—Unmanned aircraft may not be used to observe or record in areas where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy – including restrooms, locker rooms, residential rooms, dressing rooms and health treatment rooms – or near activities that may be closed to the public, including sports team practices.

—All UAS and model aircraft safety incidents must be reported to the RFRL UAS safety officer immediately and no later than 24 hours after an incident has occurred.

The policy also details proper usage of MSU-operated unmanned aircraft, acquisition of UAS by university personnel and acceptable model aircraft operations for recreational use.

“This policy is based on best practices and current law, and we are confident that it addresses many of the questions and concerns people have about unmanned aircraft,” Shaw explains.

The full policy is posted here.


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