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Getting Started

Welcome to UAS operations at NMSU.  The navigation buttons listed on the right-hand side of this page and corresponding pages will provide the guidance needed to fly a UAS under NMSU ARP 16.75.

For these types of flights consult with EHS&RM prior to any action:

  1. Indoor flights
  2. International flights
  3. Flights using an UAS device greater than 55lbs.

In order to proceed to the online flight request form, pilots and UAS devices must be registered with EHS&RM per the guidelines listed on the corresponding pages.

On the right-hand side of the page is the navigation buttons to each area in getting started.

  1. UAS Piloting Requirements
  2. UAS Device Purchase Requirements
  3. UAS Device Registration and Insurance Requirements


UAS Operations will occur under one of the following areas:

  1. Academic programs as a student/participant: This category applies when the UAS is used in furtherance of teaching students enrolled in educational programs at the university. Students enrolled in these courses may be authorized by the appropriate faculty member or academic administrator to construct and/or to fly an unoccupied aircraft as an observed user in accordance with current FAA regulations. Students in classes utilizing UAS shall receive appropriate instruction on safe operation prior to piloting an unoccupied aircraft. It is recommended that students learn how to adequately control an unoccupied aircraft inside an appropriate building or controlled flight area prior to flying outside as part of the course. Only UAS under 0.55 lbs. will be used in indoor flights. All Training activities (indoor or outdoor) will be under the direct supervision of a remote pilot certificate holder. Authorization for students to utilize UAS only extends to the specific class or program activities authorized and does not grant a right to fly outside of those parameters. Any use outside of the original designated flight plan will require the completion of a new request for authorization. 
  2. Student Piloting/Training: Students attending an NMSU course with guided training towards the completion of a Part 107 Certificate.  Student pilots can also be identified as individuals holding a Part 107 Certificate and working to earn additional certifications in NMSU program fields of study (an example of this is GIS, Global Information Systems) 
  3. Teaching: Faculty utilizing UAS as part of their teaching duties (either to demonstrate to students, or to teach the students how to build or fly) must hold a Remote Pilot Certificate (Part 107 Certificate) through the Federal Aviation Administration appropriate to the aircraft being operated. If an unoccupied aircraft is flown inside a building, the faculty member does not need to have a license from the FAA, but must have demonstrated skill and proficiency in the safe operation of the unoccupied aircraft. If long term flights are conducted over an area (such as an archeology dig) additional clearances can be sought.  
  4. Research:  
    1. Indoor: Researchers who operate UAS indoors must do so in a manner that ensures safety for anyone in the area and does not create a hazard for life safety systems (e.g., fire sprinkler heads that might be hit and damaged).  
    2. Outdoor: Must have a Remote Pilot Certificate. Prior to utilizing UAS in research activities, written authorization must be received from their respective Associate Dean of Research. Such authorization must be specific to the research project and does not extend to other projects or uses.  Flight requests must be filed with EHS&RM for each project. 
  5. Public Safety: UAS may be utilized by properly trained and credentialed members of the university police and fire departments when used to ensure public safety, manage an emergency, or investigate an incident. During any such operations, safeguards shall be in place to ensure the safety of those in the area, as well as to minimize violations of privacy. Public safety personnel operating UAS on behalf of the university shall be required to complete an appropriate training program that has been vetted and approved by the EHS&RM or Physical Science Laboratory subject matter experts. 
  6. Infrastructure Inspection: UAS may be utilized for the inspection of university facilities and infrastructure upon the written authorization of the Chief Facilities Officer, and in coordination with EHS&RM.  The safety and licensing requirements applicable to each circumstance must be met. 
  7. Commercial:  
    1. NMSU Commercial operation of UAS (where there is any form of financial remuneration or compensation as a result of the operation) may only take place when written permission has been granted by EHS&RM, any applicable campus organizations and/or the manager(s) of any facility where the flight operation will take place. All FAA requirements must be met prior to commercial flight being authorized. 
    2. Third Party Contractors – Non-NMSU contractors hired, either by NMSU or by contracted NMSU businesses.  These individuals will need to attend the EHS&RM UAS workshop class before flights can be completed on campus.  These individuals will also need to submit flight requests for flights occurring over NMSU owned property.  
  8. Recreation: Recreational use of UAS, other than as noted above for students/participants of a sanctioned university class or program, are not generally allowed on or over lands owned and controlled by the Board of Regents. A request for permission to fly recreationally for a single date may be made by submitting a request to EHS&RM, who will coordinate with the appropriate university officials to review the request. Individuals flying under such permission are restricted to the scope and terms of the authorization, and may be required to demonstrate proficiency, insurance coverage, air worthiness, and a safety plan prior to being allowed to conduct a flight.
  9. Other: Any request not applicable for one of the above categories. If the flight needed does not meet one of the above categories a request for a flight can be submitted through the UAS Flight Request Form. UAS operations must meet all FAA regulations for approval. An individualized plan will be developed for situations that do not meet standard flight criteria.