Friday, January 20, 2017

The Remote Pilot in Command

Earlier this year the FAA revised its rules concerning drones in a way that affects us here at LC.  The new rules are meant to bring more structure and responsibility to the commercial drone industry.  LC isn't conducting any commercial drone operations, so what does it mean for us?

Well, according to the FAA, if a professor were to use a drone as a part of teaching or while conducting research, that counts as a commercial use.  If the use is commercial, then an FAA granted UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) Pilot's license is required.

To comply, LC sent me to the Hillsboro Aero Academy to take the test ($150).  I took practice test after practice test until I was satisfied that I should be able to pass.  I learned things like how to read aeronautical sectional charts,  tell the difference between class A and class G airspaces,  and how to interpret air traffic control information.

Watch out for that military airspace!!!

Yep, I know how to read this thing--well, mostly.  However, the chances of actually needing to use this information while flying a drone around LC are pretty low.   

The good news is, I passed the test!  I'm now the proud bearer of the title, "Remote Pilot in Command (RPIC)" Going forward, if a drone will be used on the LC campus by an employee during working hours, I or another RPIC will need to be present for the operation. 

Any questions about FAA drone rules or inquiries about using drones for research may be directed to edtech@lclark.edu.  We look forward to flying with you...

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