The LBNL Aviation Safety Program addresses two areas:
- The operation of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), including “drones”, and
- The use of commercial aviation services.
Drones (as well as balloons, kites and other types of unmanned aircraft systems) are commonly used in industrial and research applications. The operation of drones (those under 55 pounds gross weight) is strictly regulated. The LBNL Aviation Safety Program helps ensure that drones and other unmanned aircraft systems are operated safely and in accordance with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Department of Energy (DOE) requirements.
Commercial aviation services may include national flag carriers as well as small regional carriers. All air transport used by LBNL employees must be DOE-approved.
LBNL Aviation Safety Program elements are based on FAA Part 107 and DOE Order 440.2C requirements. LBNL requirements for using unmanned aircraft systems and commercial aviation services are currently addressed in the Requirements and Policies Manual Aviation Management and Safety Policy chapter. In addition, LBNL drone pilots utilize the UC Drones web application to document both practice and operational flights.
Drone operations are conducted under the current DOE Certificate of Authorization and are subject to Work Planning & Control requirements. For a Work Planning and Control Activity involving the use of drones or other unmanned aircraft systems, the user must develop and vet an Aviation Safety Plan. The Plan must be reviewed and approved by both EHS and the DOE Bay Area Site Office prior to sending to the DOE Office of Aircraft Management for final approval.
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.
For further information, contact the LBNL Aviation Safety Program manager.