Admin


Riverside Unified School District

Unmanned Aerial Systems

(UASs / Drones)

Guidelines for Use

Introduction

Drones have many potential positive uses for both staff and students throughout RUSD.  These guidelines are intended to promote the responsible, safe, and legal use of UASs over District properties.  While it is the responsibility of the drone user to understand and follow all government regulations, which will not be reprinted herein, this document will provide a brief synopsis of actions and information required by the prospective drone user prior to operating a UAS over District property, or using a District-owned drone anywhere.

Risks

The use of drones poses unique risks, many of which are self-evident, such as the possibility of injury due to malfunction or misuse, or property damage to others and the drone itself.  However, there are also risks which may not be quite so obvious.  These include the possibility of charges of invasion of privacy (e.g., flying over someone’s backyard), hitting a fire sprinkler when flown indoors causing water damage, and potential personal liability to the operator for damages/injury caused by illegal use (such as flying an unregistered drone, or flying without the proper government issued piloting certification).

Which Type of Operator are You?

Drones can be operated legally only under one of two FAA regulatory categories, and you are responsible for assuring you follow all regulations under the appropriate option, else you are operating illegally.  Note that if you operate a drone for District purposes in an illegal manner, the District’s insurance may not be able to cover you or defend you should a liability claim or lawsuit be filed against you, and you may be personally subject to significant government fines.  Thus the importance of knowing which regulatory option you are operating under, and understanding (and following) all regulations of that option.

 

Option One:  Flying for hobby or recreation use ONLY. 

This option is described under FAA Special Rule for Model Aircraft (Section 336)

Option Two:  Flying for commercial use

This option is described under the FAA’s Small UAS Rule (Part 107)


Below is a brief summary of each user type (as it relates to District use) to help you decide which option your intended use fits under… but remember, it is your responsibility to study, understand, and follow FAA regulations before any use for District purposes or over District property.

Option One – Hobby/Recreational Use (Section 336) 

  • Student use of a registered drone as a verifiable component of science, technology, aviation, or television/film production coursework.
  • The operator, whether student or not, is NOT compensated, either directly or indirectly, for the operation of the drone.
  • If hobby/recreational only use, the drone is operated in accordance with a community-based set of safety guidelines and within the programming guidelines of a nationwide community-based organization
  • A teacher’s use of a drone may ONLY be incidental to a student’s coursework use.Such use may include, for example, regaining control of the UAS following a student’s loss of control.Teacher use cannot include any full flight demonstration, nor off-site practice flights using a District-owned UAS, since a teacher’s use must remain secondary and incidental to the student’s operation of the UAS at the time in order to maintain Hobby/Recreational status.

 Option Two – Commercial Use (Part 107) 

  • Anyone receiving any sort of compensation for the use of the drone (with the narrow exception being as noted in Option One above for a teacher’s de minimis use).For example, a Facilities Dept. employee using a drone to survey a new construction site, or a Communications Dept. employee using a drone to film a school activity, are both considered commercial users, as they are being paid a salary as part of their job to operate the drone.
  • Any visitor, vendor, or contractor flying over District property who is being compensated in any way, by anyone, to operate the drone.

Please refer to the FAA regulations noted above for a complete description of each type of use.


Requirements for Each Type of User

         For Hobbyist/Recreational Users: 

  • Only current students, and Teachers fitting the de minimis use exception noted in Option One above, may operate a drone as a Hobbyist/Recreational user over District property
  • No public or visitor Hobbyist/Recreational use is allowed over District property, with the exception of an approved, non-commercial expert demonstration
  • The UAS (AKA “model aircraft” for Hobbyist/Recreational use) must be registered with the FAA if it weighs over 0.55 pounds (8.8 ounces)
  • A District “Permit for Use of Unmanned Aerial System” must be submitted to, and approved by, the Risk Management Department of RUSD prior to the use of any drone over District property (or use anywhere of a District-owned UAS).
  • All UAS users must follow the Drone Safety Guidelines listed below 

     

    For Commercial Users:

  • The UAS must be registered with the FAA if it weighs over 0.55 pounds (8.8 ounces)
  • A District “Permit for Use of Unmanned Aerial System” must be submitted to, and approved by, the Risk Management Department of RUSD prior to the use of any drone over District property (or use anywhere of a District-owned UAS).
  • All UAS users must follow the Drone Safety Guidelines listed below
  • All commercial users must maintain a Remote Pilot Airman or Remote Pilot in Command Certification, and pertinent FAA certificates of authorization or waivers
  • Vendor/Contractor commercial use of a UAS over district property is allowable if contracted by the District for a specific business use, a vendor agreement/contract and appropriate insurance certificate is on file with the RUSD Purchasing Dept., and an approved Permit for Use of Unmanned Aerial System is on file.

 

Drone Safety Guidelines

The following must be adhered to in order to operate any drone over District property, or to use a District-owned drone anywhere: 

  • Complete a District “Drone Use Application” (available from Purchasing or Risk Mgt.)
  • Register your drone
  • For commercial users, obtain the proper Remote Pilot Airman or Remote Pilot in Command Certification, and pertinent FAA certificates of authorization or waivers
  • Notify all airports within 5 miles of your intended use.Document your notification.
  • Always conduct and document a pre-flight inspection, to include specific aircraft and control station systems checks
  • Fly your drone at or below 400 feet
  • Keep your drone within your line of sight
  • Be aware of and compliant with FAA Airspace Restrictions
  • Respect privacy (i.e., do NOT fly over private property)
  • Never fly near other aircraft, especially near airports
  • Never fly over people, public events, or stadiums when people are present
  • Never fly near emergencies such as fires or other types of disasters
  • Never fly indoors (with the exception of “mini-drones” under 0.55 lbs/8.8 ozs. with little or no potential to cause property damage or injury)
  • Never fly under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Never fly in excess of 100 mph
  • Be aware of local ordinances and regulations, including signage
  • Understand the risks to you, to others, and to the District, and take steps to reduce those risks.