UAS Regulations FAQ - ISU Office of the Vice President for Research

UAS Regulations FAQ

Unmanned Aircraft Systems – FAQ

1. When do I need to file a request to use UAS?

Any use of UAS on or over ISU property requires approval from ISU through the UAS Flying Request Form.

If you plan to use UAS to conduct research, an Unmanned Aircraft Research Project Approval Form must be submitted and approved before submitting the UAS Flying Request Form

2. What types of flights are not allowed on campus?

  • A UAS may not be used to monitor or record activities where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy on university property. Examples include, but are not limited to, restrooms, locker rooms, and residence halls.
  • A UAS may not be flown in a Temporary Flight Restriction area or in “No Drone Zones” on university property.
  • Any operation endangering public safety.

New Small Unmanned Aircraft Regulations

3. What is Part 107 and what does it mean for future UAS flights?

On June 21, the FAA released the Final Rule for Small Unmanned Aircraft System to be enacted August 29, 2016. This new law introduces a simpler and easier to achieve authorization for UAS flights with a new license and simplified rules for operating an unmanned aircraft.

The remote pilot certificate replaces the need for an operator to have a private pilot’s license. Similar to a driver’s license, this license will require the applicant to pass a knowledge test and pass a security vetting. The cost of the test will be $150.

The FAA provides a summary of the new rule here, while the full text can be found here.

4. I don’t have a Part 107 Certificate. What if I want to fly now?

All UAS flights must have some form of FAA approval. In some cases, the Office of Research Integrity (ORI) is authorized to grant this approval, depending on the proposed flight plan, aircraft make/model, and purpose. ORI is the operations manager of ISU’s Section 333 exemption, as well as the Public Agency Blanket COA for specific research purposes. Depending on the purpose, aircraft make/model, and proposed location you may be able to obtain approval before obtaining a remote pilot certificate.

5. Once I am a remote pilot under Part 107 and have permission from ISU, can I fly on campus?

Not yet. In addition to having your part 107 certificate and receiving permission from ISU, you must also receive permission via a waiver from Air Traffic Control to operate in Class E airspace. The area around the Ames airport is Class E airspace to ground level (see below). This waiver can be requested online beginning August 29. FAA asks that you submit your waiver request online at least 90 days prior to planned flight.



Remote Pilot Certification

6. How do I get a remote pilot certificate?

  1. Beginning August 29, 2016, you must pass an aeronautical knowledge test at a Knowledge Testing Center (there is one in Ankeny). You may set an appointment to take the exam here. Cost is $150.
  2. Pass the aeronautical knowledge test.
  3. Fill out FAA Form 8710-13 for a remote pilot certificate here.
  4. A confirmation email will be sent when you pass the TSA security check.
  5. A permanent remote pilot certificate will be sent via mail.

7. What is the exam like?

It is a 60-question multiple choice test with a single correct response. The topics are broken down as follows:


8. How can I prepare for the exam?

1. FAA has a Part 107 sUAS Course available at and provides sample test questions here

2. Review the information and study outline here.

3. iOS Drone Test Prep by Aeroapps Technology (designed for iPhone and iPad)


9. Does the new Small UAS Rule (part 107) apply to hobbyist UAS operations?

Part 107 does not apply to UAS flown strictly for fun. You must, however, follow ISU procedures for hobbyists if you are operating over ISU property. ISU procedures require that you receive ISU permission (via UAS Request Form) and have insurance. Visit the FAA’s "Fly for Fun" webpage for safety rules and guidelines that apply to recreational UAS operations and FAA Advisory Circular AC 91-57A, “Model Aircraft Operating Standards - Including Change 1.”.

10. How do I know where it is OK to fly and where it is not OK to fly?

The FAA has developed a smartphone app called B4UFLY to help recreational UAS operators know whether there are any restrictions or requirements where they want to fly. When flying on/over ISU property, you may only fly in the location listed on your flight approval.

11. Can I fly a UAS over a football game or other event at Jack Trice Stadium?

The Federal Aviation Administration has classified airspace above Jack Trice Stadium as National Defense Airspace. A Temporary Flight Restriction is in effect one hour before scheduled start time and extends until an hour after the event ends. During this time, UAS are prohibited within three miles of Jack Trice Stadium.

Instructional Use

12. Can students fly a UAS for part of a class curriculum?

Students may fly a UAS for part of a class curriculum under hobbyist rules or Part 107 rules, with prior ISU approval. This includes consultation on acceptable flying site locations and standard operating procedures. However, flights as part of university business or academic research, regardless of the operator, must receive FAA authorization. Contact the Office of Research Integrity for more information.


If you want to fly or hire a vendor to fly an unmanned aircraft system (UAS) on/over ISU property, whether indoors or outdoors, permission is required from ISU. UAS pilots must also comply with the requirements of the Federal Aviation Administration.  For more information, please visit ORI’s UAS web page or contact us by email.

Copyright © 2017 Iowa State University.