Drones (otherwise referred to formally as unmanned aircraft systems or “UAS”) as well as balloons and kites are often used in industrial and research applications. The operation of UAS (those under 55 pounds gross weight) is strictly regulated.
LBNL Aviation Safety Program addresses two key issues:
- The Federal requirements for operating UAS outlined and described in FAA Part 107 and DOE Order 440.2C.
- The use of Commercial Aviation Services (CAS). All non-scheduled commercial aviation services utilized by LBNL employees must be DOE-approved. The use of scheduled airlines (often referred to as “flag carriers”) is not restricted.
The Program helps ensure that the use of drones and other unmanned aircraft systems by LBNL researchers and staff are operated safely. The Program is comprehensive and addresses all requirements related to the use of UAS, commercial aviation services, and LBNL-specific aviation safety requirements.
Drone operations are conducted under a DOE Certificate of Authorization and are subject to Work Planning & Control (WP&C) requirements. For a WP&C Activity involving the use of drones or other unmanned aircraft systems, the user must develop and vet an Aviation Safety Plan (ASP). The ASP must be reviewed and approved by both the LBNL Aviation Safety Program Manager (or designee) and the DOE Berkeley Site Office Aviation Safety Officer prior to sending to the DOE Office of Aircraft Management for final approval.
Where the utilization of a CAS is anticipated, the WP&C Work Activity must document its use and confirm it has been reviewed and vetted per DOE requirements.
All LBNL drone operators are required to hold a Small Unmanned Aircraft System license (certificate) before they can fly. Certification is by examination and tests knowledge of Part 107 rules. In addition, all drones must be registered with the FAA.
Additional requirements are included in the Program. For further information, contact the LBNL Aviation Safety Program manager.