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FAA Regulations
664 6 2015-10-24
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nateweger
lvl.2
Flight distance : 4172 ft

United States
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Hello everybody,

I will be doing research at my university using a Phantom 3 Advanced. I have three questions:

1. Is it required to get a license from the FAA to use a drone for university research?
2. We want to use the drone to monitor flood plains, which means every time there's a flood in the area, we would be there. Does that mean we need to register every time, or do you only have to register once and it covers everything?
3. How long does it take to go through the application process and get a license, and do they usually say yes when people apply?

I appreciate any help or suggestions.

Thanks,
Nate
2015-10-24
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Sir Edward K
Second Officer

United States
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Yes you have to go through FAA.  There are three kinds of UAV operations in the FAA's view.   Public (Governmental), Civil (Private Sector Company) and Hobby (Recreational).  If you fall within either of the first two you will have to get an exemption.  Each is different though.  Also those same two requires that the person at the controls is a licensed pilot.   Yes they turn some down.  You can go to the FAA site and it will show you who has applied and who has been accepted or denied.

Some Universities I would think would fall under public:  But you need to visit the federal statutes that governs aircraft under Title 49 U.S.C. § 40102(a)(41) provides the definition of "Public Aircraft" and § 40125 provides the qualifications for public aircraft status. Whether an operation qualifies as a public aircraft operation is determined on a flight-by-flight basis, under the terms of the statute. The considerations when making this determination are aircraft ownership, the operator, the purpose of the flight,

This is the page you need:  https://www.faa.gov/uas/

Look at the bottom of page for the three types of UAV use.

Here is a list of those that have been granted part 333 exemption:  https://www.faa.gov/uas/legislative_programs/section_333/333_authorizations/


2015-10-24
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nateweger
lvl.2
Flight distance : 4172 ft

United States
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I can't find anything about using them for university research, does anybody know whether this falls underneath commercial or recreational?
2015-10-24
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Sir Edward K
Second Officer

United States
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nateweger@gmail Posted at 2015-10-24 10:53
I can't find anything about using them for university research, does anybody know whether this falls ...

Well you can definitely rule out recreational.  So it is either public or commercial.  I think if university gets fed or state funding it might be considered public.  Ether case you need pilot license at this point in time.  Could change after next summer though.
2015-10-24
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nateweger
lvl.2
Flight distance : 4172 ft

United States
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Sir Edward K Posted at 2015-10-24 14:23
Well you can definitely rule out recreational.  So it is either public or commercial.  I think if  ...

Wonderful, I'm sure it's an easy process to get a pilot's license. Thanks for your help though!
2015-10-24
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Sir Edward K
Second Officer

United States
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nateweger@gmail Posted at 2015-10-24 14:46
Wonderful, I'm sure it's an easy process to get a pilot's license. Thanks for your help though!

Yep. I am waiting until next year for 333 exemption.  Suppose to remove pilot requirement but take test to get certified in knowledge of airspace rules and regs etc.
2015-10-24
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LICENSED PILOT
First Officer
Flight distance : 644668 ft
United States
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nateweger@gmail Posted at 2015-10-25 03:46
Wonderful, I'm sure it's an easy process to get a pilot's license. Thanks for your help though!


Its an FAA pilot's license, and takes time and money. A sport pilot license (the cheapest)  is around 5-6k. If your university is a public one, you need a COA:

http://www.faa.gov/about/office_ ... anizations/uas/coa/

If it's a private one then you'll need the 333 exemption:

http://www.faa.gov/uas/legislative_programs/section_333/

I'm no expert; the university should contact the FAA for the straight dope. If you will operate in a disaster area be sure to contact law enforcement and the local Flight Standards District Office to check for any Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFR) over the area.
2015-10-24
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