Where Can I Fly a Drone?

The FAA recently released new rules for drones, and people have been asking if we can fly drones for class at Mount Holyoke. In theory yes, but with several caveats:

Under the new Small UAS Rules, the drone must be under 55 pounds and fly below 400 feet above ground level at less than 100 mph. The drone cannot fly over people or from a moving vehicle.

A Remote Pilot in Charge who has passed the Airman Knowledge Test and TSA Screening must be in control of the drone or supervising the person controlling the drone, and within line of sight to the drone at all times.

The drone must be registered with the FAA and have a registration number plainly visible.

Any flights outside of Class G airspace require a prior waiver from the FAA. At Mount Holyoke, we may require a waiver because we are near Westover ARB Class D airspace.

The good news is that just about all of these requirements can be waived. That’s the way to go if you’re planning a class exercise, research activity, or you just want to launch a fleet of commercial* drones. That, or talk to the amazing folks in the Makerspace and see what other solutions might be possible.

Many Drones with FAA Waiver

* Yes, Mount Holyoke is a non-profit educational institution. For the time being, however, the commercial regulations apply to us as well.