UAS Frequently Asked Questions


What is an unmanned aircraft system, UAS?

An unmanned aircraft system is an unmanned aircraft and the equipment necessary for the safe and efficient operation of that aircraft. An unmanned aircraft is a component of a system—the UAS. It is defined by statute as an aircraft that is operated without the possibility of direct human intervention from within or on the aircraft (Public Law 112-95, Section 331(8)).

What and where can I fly?

Pilots may fly for non-recreational purposes without further FAA authorization if they possess a small UAS rating certificate issued by the FAA, operate under the Part 107 regulations and receive approval through UNT Risk Management Services (RMS) by submitting a UAS Use Permit Application. Drones must be properly registered with the FAA, weigh under 55 lbs, cannot exceed 100 mph groundspeed, stay under 400 feet AGL (above ground level), fly within Class G airspace during the daytime and may not fly over people or otherwise pose a threat to participants on the ground.

If your proposed UAS operation does not meet those requirements, the FAA has implemented a case-by-case review process that may enable them. Please send an email to UNT RMS if you would like to explore this option.

May students fly a UAS for part of a class curriculum?

Students may fly a UAS for part of a class curriculum only with UNT RMS approval.  For classroom or educational activities, the professor or teaching assistant is required to have a small drone license; the individual students are not. For guidance on how to fly UAS for a class, contact UNT RMS.

What is Part 107?

Part 107 is the new set of federal regulations that is an easier process for UAS flights. It creates a new small drone operating license and simplified procedures for operating a drone.

The new remote pilot certificate with small UAS rating, Small Drone License, enables the holder to operate a small drone for commercial purposes. Similar to a driver license, this license will require the applicant to pass a knowledge test and pass a security vetting. Additional information on the license can be found by reading more on the Federal Aviation Administration's UAS web page.

The FAA provides a summary of the new rule, while the full text also is available.

How can I apply for a Certificate of Authorization, COA?

The FAA will issue waivers/authorizations to certain requirements of Part 107 if an applicant demonstrates they can fly safely under the waiver without endangering people or property on the ground or in the air. Due to that most of UNT is within Class D airspace, a COA is required for all commercial UAS operations.

The FAA will strive to review and issue decisions on waiver/authorization requests within 90 days. Processing times will vary based on the complexity of your request.​


Why do I need to register my UAS?

Federal law requires that small unmanned aircraft weighing more than .55 pounds that do not fly exclusively under the Special Rule for Model Aircraft, be registered with the FAA and marked with a registration number, either by registering online or by using the legacy paper-based registration process.

If my UAS weighs more than 55 lbs., what are the registration requirements?

It must be registered using the FAA's paper-based registration process if it is not operated exclusively under the Special Rule for Model Aircraft, (Section 336 of the 2012 FAA Modernization and Reform Act).

How do I mark my unmanned aircraft with my unique registration number?

If you complete registration using the web-based registration process and satisfy the registration requirements, you may use a permanent marker, label, or engraving, as long as the number remains affixed to the aircraft during routine handling and all operating conditions and is readily accessible and legible upon close visual inspection. Refer to this PDF for additional details.

Requirements for marking unmanned aircraft registered in accordance with the legacy registration system can be found in 14 CFR Part 45, subpart C. Guidance material on aircraft marking requirements in Part 45 can be found in Advisory Circular No. 45-2E Identification and Registration Marking.

Is there a penalty for failing to register?

Failure to register an unmanned aircraft that is required to be registered may result in regulatory and criminal penalties. The FAA may assess civil penalties up to $27,500. Criminal penalties include fines of up to $250,000 and/or imprisonment for up to three years.

There is no one-size-fits-all enforcement action for violations. All aspects of a violation will be considered, along with mitigating and aggravating circumstances surrounding the violation. In general, the FAA will attempt to educate operators who fail to comply with registration requirements. However, fines will remain an option when egregious circumstances are present.