Many UAS flight operations for research will likely meet the requirements to operate under the FAA Part 107 small UAS rules. A procedure has been written to describe this process: Part 107 Small UAS Flight Operations
For UAS flights that require a Public Aircraft Operation COA, NDSU collaborates with the Northern Plains UAS Test Site (NP UAS TS). Examples would be projects utilizing aircraft larger than 55 lbs, flights at altitudes higher than 400 feet AGL, or flights being conducted beyond visual line-of-sight of the UAS pilot. This arrangement allows NDSU to leverage the NP UAS TS team’s expertise in COA applications, airworthiness determinations, flight operations, and the many other aspects of safely operating a UAS. The NP UAS TS maintains an office at the NDSU Research 2 building for working with NDSU projects. A procedure is available to describe this process: COA Flight Operations
In May 2016, the FAA issued an interpretation memo titled “Educational Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)”. This memo states: “A student may conduct model aircraft operations in accordance with section 336 of the FMRA in furtherance of his or her aviation-related education at an accredited educational institution”. This interpretation memo may be beneficial to some academic courses, but the memo makes it clear that it does not apply to flights for research related activity: Interpretation-educational-use-of-UAS
When operating under any of these three methods (Part 107 Civil Aircraft Operation, Public Aircraft Operation COA, or Model Aircraft Rules), coordination and approval with Air Traffic Control is required to operate within 5 miles of Fargo’s Hector International Airport. This applies to the entirety of the NDSU campus in Fargo.
- This website contains lots of useful information including test preparation material for taking the Airman Knowledge Test required to obtain a Remote Pilot Certificate.