Unmanned Aerial Systems (UASS/Drones) Guidelines for Use
Unmanned Aerial Systems (aka Drones) have many potential educational uses throughout TUSD. These guidelines are intended to promote the responsible, safe, and legal use of drones on District properties, or the use of District-owned drones anywhere. While it is the responsibility of the drone user to understand and follow all government regulations, this information specifically relates to the operation of drones by TUSD students and staff.
The use of drones poses unique risks, many of which are self-evident, such as the possibility of injury due to malfunction or misuse, or property damage to others and the drone itself. However, there are also risks which may not be quite so obvious. These include the possibility of charges of invasion of privacy (e.g., flying over someone’s backyard), hitting a fire sprinkler when flown indoors causing water damage, and potential personal liability to the operator for damages/injury caused by illegal use (such as flying an unregistered drone, or flying without the proper government issued piloting certification).
HOBBY OR RECREATION USE (TO INCLUDE EDUCATION)
As described in Title 49, section 44809, to fall under recreational use, all of the following must apply:
- The aircraft is flown strictly for recreational purposes.
- The aircraft is operated in accordance with or within the programming of a community-based organization’s set of safety guidelines that are developed in coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration.
- The aircraft is flown within the visual line of sight of the person operating the aircraft or a visual observer co-located and in direct communication with the operator.
- The aircraft is operated in a manner that does not interfere with and gives way to any manned aircraft.
As applied to TUSD students:
- Student use of a drone must be a verifiable component of science, technology, aviation, or television/film/yearbook production coursework.
- The operator, whether student or not, is NOT compensated, either directly or indirectly, for the operation of the drone.
As applied to teachers:
- Because a teacher is compensated, by definition, their use of a drone is not recreational. A teacher's use of a drone may ONLY be incidental to a student’s coursework. This may include, for example, regaining control of the UAS following a student’s loss of control.
- Teacher use cannot include any full flight demonstration, nor off-site practice flights using a District-owned UAS, since a teacher’s use must remain secondary and incidental to the student’s operation of the UAS at the time in order to maintain Hobby/Recreational status.
DRONE SAFETY GUIDELINES
The following must be adhered to in order to operate any drone over District property, or to use a District-owned drone anywhere:
- Always conduct and document a pre-flight inspection, to include specific aircraft and control station systems checks.
- Fly your drone at or below 400 feet.
- Keep your drone within your line of sight.
- Be aware of and compliant with FAA Airspace Restrictions.
- Respect privacy (i.e., do NOT fly over private property.)
- Never fly near other aircraft, especially near airports.
- Never fly over people, public events, or stadiums when people are present.
- Never fly near emergencies such as fires or other types of disasters.
- Never fly indoors (with the exception of “mini-drones” under 0.55 lbs/8.8 ozs. with little or no potential to cause property damage or injury.)
- Never fly in excess of 100 mph.
- Be aware of local ordinances and regulations, including signage.
- Understand the risks to you, to others, and to the District, and take steps to reduce those risks.