Use of UAS in a high school class?

Jan 16, 2017
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I've been working with our local high schools Air Force JROTC program on computer classes for cyber patriots (a computer security program). As they are wrapping that up, one topic that came up was about using drones as examples of real world applications. This school has some RC aircraft and a drone that needs work after a crash last year. As I am the local "drone expert", I was volunteered for the subject. When talking to the instructor, they are unaware of the new UAS licensing requirements.

Here's where the problem comes in for me. I do not hold a part 107, and although I've considered it, to me it appears to actually restrict your rights *even* when flying hobby/unpaid flights. I am kind of in a legal grey area. I don't work for the school, I am a 'volunteer', but I am a salaried employee for a local tech firm which is how I became involved with this program, which makes me paid, kind of, depending on how you slice it and which lawyer challenges it.

The most recent interpretation I can find from the FAA is this
which predates the latest rules and the Part 107. This states that the teacher/faculty cannot be at the controls except in an emergency, but the students are free to fly under the hobbyist definition.

Does anyone have reference to a more recent ruling or interpretation on this? I doubt the faculty teachers will want to get licensed, and I have no desire to get licensed unless I can turn this into a business, which seems unlikely.
I would think that applies to a "paid" teacher. It sounds like you are a volunteer and NOT being paid for your (flying) services which is the whole point of Part 107. I "think" you're ok, but you could call your local FSDO and let them know in advance what you are doing and why. IMHO

Make sure you're covered under the School District Insurance Policy as well. The need an endorsement for "Volunteers as Additional Insured" which they "should" have on their policy anyway. Talk to the district's business manager about that.

Flight Standards District Offices (FSDO)
Paco ,
The interesting thing is I'm also mentoring at a local High school (mainly to support the UAS4 STEM quadcopter challenge. This is my second year doing this with them. I did earn my FAA Part 107 certificate ( for other reasons).
The teacher loves working with this program. In fact he even talked his leadership into buying 6 Solos to develop coursework for next year!
Now if we could only do better this year at the competition!

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Competition? I'm going to have to look into that. I'll get my part 107 if I have to. Looks like I also need that technically to fly for the fire department, even as a volunteer, based on how I read it.
So I'm curious about what you do in the UAS4 STEM challenge. I looked on the website and I don't really see how they're competing. It looks like every team builds the same pre-packaged kit, and then one kid will fly it while a couple others look at the video feed? I'm really not trying to put it down, but the website doesn't seem to give me much to pitch to the school without knowing more, especially for that entry price.
The UAS4STEM challenge this year is a simulated SAR. The student teams have to fly an auto mission with Mission Planner to "find" a lost hiker. They need to ID what they find and the GPS coordinates. There are also other requirements like a briefing to the judges on how they assembled and tested the quads.
Most schools who participate are doing it after hours with a small volunteer team. I'm lucky enough that the school I'm working with is doing it as part of the course curriculum.

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