NMSU UAS (Drone) Flights

The process to fly a drone at NMSU


  • Obtain your Part 107 Certificate 
  • Register your sUAS/drone with NMSU ($5 FAA fee required)
  • sUAS/drone must have the proper markings on the outside
  • Apply for NMSU Insurance 
  • Attend the NMSU sUAS Workshop ($130 per person)
  • Completed sUAS/drone proficiency check flight

Prior to Flight 

  • Complete the steps above
  • Drone inspected by PSL and approved for flight 
  • Confirm you are insured 
  • Request online for flight operations and receive approval


NMSU UAS Checklist

_____ Pilot has a Part 107 Certificate

_____ My sUAS/drone is registered with NMSU

_____ My sUAS/drone has the proper markings on the outside

_____ I have had my drone inspected by PSL and approved for flight

_____ I have applied for NMSU Insurance

_____ I have attended the NMSU sUAS Workshop

_____ I have completed my proficiency check flight

_____ I have confirmed I am insured by NMSU

_____ I have requested online for flight operations (https://nmsu.presence.io/form/uas-flight-registration-form)

_____ I have received an approval for flight operations

Drone Purchase Checklist

_____ I have approval from my department/college/management to purchase a drone

_____ I have funding to pay for the registration and the annual insurance costs; index number has been provided to EHS&RM.

_____ I have submitted the “Authorized Request to Own and Operate Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)” form (can be found at https://af.nmsu.edu/forms/)

_____ I have been approved to purchase the sUAS/drone

_____ I have had my drone inspected by PSL and approved for flight



NMSU UAS Frequently Asked Questions

 What are the NMSU rules for UAS?

  • UAS or drones are covered in the NMSU Administrative Rules and Procedures (ARP) Chapter 16 | Safety and Risk Management Uncategorized 16.75 - Unmanned Aircraft Systems ("Drones")
  • https://arp.nmsu.edu/16-75/

 What types of flights are allowed? (Each one below may have different FAA regulations and NMSU rules must follow) Academic programs as a student/participant

  • Teaching
  • Research
  • Public Safety
  • Infrastructure Inspection
  • Commercial
  • Recreation

 I want to fly a drone at NMSU, what are the steps?

  • Preparation
    • Obtain your Part 107 Certificate
    • Register your sUAS/drone with the FAA through PSL
    • UAS must have the proper markings on the outside
    • Apply for NMSU Insurance
    • Attend the NMSU sUAS Workshop
  • Prior to Flight
    • Complete the steps above
    • Confirm you are insured
    • Request online for flight operations and receive approval

 How do I register my drone?

  • All NMSU owned drones must be registered
  • PSL will register the drone with the FAA – Registration cost is $5 per sUAS
  • The FAA Registration number is valid for 3 years
  • Index number from the department that owns the sUAS/drone will need tbe provided to PSL to do the registration. This index is for the FAA $5 Fee.

 What are the proper markings on the outside of my sUAS/drone?

  • The FAA Registration Number must be on the outside of the sUAS/drone
  • The FAA has nspecific rules on size or placement. However, it must be legible and in an obvious location.

 I am a professor and I want to fly a drone. What do I need tdo?

  • In order for an NMSU Professor to use an sUAS/drone, The professor must complete the following:
    • Obtain your Part 107 Certificate
    • Register your sUAS/drone with the FAA through PSL
    • UAS must have the proper markings on the outside
    • Apply for and obtain NMSU Insurance
    • Attend the NMSU sUAS Workshop and pass the proficiency check flight

 I work at NMSU and I want to contract a company or vendor to come to campus to fly a drone to take pictures or videos, survey for a facility’s project, support research, or something else. What do I have tdo?

  • Vendor for sUAS Operations
    • Prior to flight operations
    • Verify Part 107
    • Verify Registration
    • Verify Insurance meets NMSU Requirements
    • Vendor pilot must attend sUAS Workshop
    • Attend the one day workshop with proficiency check flight (workshop and check flight is $130 per person)
  • Vendor request for flight Operation
    • NMSU Sponsor must apply for the flight request for the operation on the Website Activity Request for sUAS Flight

 What about Insurance?

  • Contact NMSU Risk Management (ehs@nmsu.edu)
  • Insurance is to cover any damage that might happen
  • Fees are applied annually

 I have home-owners insurance. Can I fly with that?

  • If you own the drone and are flying on your own time, then your personal insurance applies.
  • If you own the drone and are flying on campus or as part of your job, then no, your own insurance does not apply. Flights on campus you have tbe covered by NMSU insurance.
  • If you fly an NMSU owned drone at any time (flying on campus, off-campus, or as part of your job) then you have to be covered by NMSU insurance.

 What is Part 107?

  • FAA Part 107 regulations cover a broad spectrum of commercial and government uses for drones weighing less than 55 pounds.
  • https://www.faa.gov/news/fact_sheets/news_story.cfm?newsId=22615
  • Pass the FAA Part 107 Knowledge Exam
    • This is an FAA requirement and you must take and pass this test with an approved testing center
  • What does the testing cover?
    • Operating Requirements
    • Registration
    • Pilot Certification
    • UAS Certification
    • Other Requirements
    • Waivers and Airspace Authorizations
    • Weather

 Does NMSU offer a class to study for the Part 107 exam?

  • No.
  • There are both online and other resources available to study for this exam

 What is the NMSU sUAS Workshop?

  • The NMSU sUAS Workshop is not flight training
  • The workshop covers what is required from NMSU to fly a drone
  • The following topics are covered:
    • NMSU Rules
    • FAA regulations
    • Flight request process
    • Safety
    • Importance of Checklists
    • Drone safety
    • Mitigations
  • Each person who wants to fly has to demonstrate their piloting skills through a proficiency check flight
  • The workshop costs $130 per person

 When are the NMSU sUAS Workshops offered?

  • The NMSU UAS Workshop will be offered 4 to 5 times a year. Nominally January, June, September, and December.
  • Contact uasftc@nmsu.edu for dates or questions

 Is there UAS flight training available?

  • No. NMSU does not offer any UAS flight training.
  • Many learn to fly using a flight simulator and then practice/train at the local RC field after getting approval to fly there.

 I want to buy a drone. What do I need to do?

  • Every drone purchase for any university or research needs has to be approved.
  • The "Authorized Request to Own and Operate Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)" form can be found at https://af.nmsu.edu/forms/

 I just bought a drone that weighs less than 250 grams. What rules do I have to follow?

  • If you bought it using University funds and are doing flights for any University purposes, then the pilot will still need to be a Part 107 certified and the sUAS will need tbe registered as a commercial sUAS. It will also be subject tall the same Part 107 regulation as the larger .55lbs – 55lbs sUAS. This includes all airspace regulations.
  • If you buy this system for personal use and is not purchased by NMSU, then the pilot does not need to be registered as a recreational sUAS Pilot. However, you will still need to comply with all airspace regulations for recreational sUAS flight.

 How do I request to fly a sUAS/drone on campus or at a University owned location?

 What happens after I submit a flight request application?

  • The online application is electronically sent to be approved by Campus Activities, Facilities, PSL, Police, Fire, EHS&RM, and additional approvals as appropriate.

 How quickly will by flight application be approved?

  • Requests should be made at least 10 business days prior to the planned activity.

 Why do I have to fill out a flight application?

  • Safety!
  • We do not want twor more people are flying at the same time at the same location.
  • All of the approvers listed are included tensure that the university rules are followed and that the appropriate groups know what is going on.

 I have completed my flights. Do I need tdanything after the flights?

  • Yes. After each flight, a flight report must be turned in to PSL. This is an FAA requirement.

 Why do I have to apply with NMSU to purchase a sUAS/drone?

  • NUAS/drone, nor component thereof, may be purchased with university funds until an analysis has been completed tdetermine whether existing university aircraft or equipment can meet the need.

 What happens after I purchase a sUAS/drone?

  • Any aircraft purchased with university funds shall, upon receipt, be submitted for inspection to the Physical Science Laboratory subject matter experts for a safety evaluation and registration.
  • All registrations submitted for aircraft purchased with university funds shall list the owner as “Board of Regents, New Mexico State University”.
  • Regardless of the dollar amount of the purchase, the acquisition of an UAS with university funds must be reported tEnvironmental Health Safety & Risk Management (EHS&RM) in order tobtain risk management coverage prior tany operation of the UAS. An index number and UAS specified information must be provided to EHS&RM tensure coverage before flight operations are approved.

 I built a drone, can I fly it?

  • Yes, a “Do It Yourself” or classroom built sUAS/drone can be flown, however all NMSU and FAA Regulations must be followed.
  • There is an addition step. The sUAS/drone will need be inspected by the NMSU Flight Test Site/PSL tensure that the sUAS/drone is safe.
  • There may be some costs associated with the inspections by UAS flight safety experts.
  • Please contact uasftc@nmsu.edu for further information.

 I want to fly operations that do not fit under FAA Part 107. What do I do?

  • Please contact PSL tcoordinate if an application for an FAA Certificate of Authorization (COA) is required.
  • If a Certificate of Authorization from the FAA is necessary for a university student, faculty, or staff member, it shall be coordinated with the Physical Science Laboratory.
  • NCOA application may be submitted tthe FAA on behalf of the university nor any of its subunits unless such coordination has taken place and approval for the application has been received.

 Are there any exceptions tthese UAS rules?

  • Requests for any exception from this Rule’s requirements may be submitted in writing to the Vice President of Research, who will grant or deny the request in a letter decision to the requesting party, after consultation with the appropriate administrators from the Physical Science Laboratory, subject matter experts as necessary, facility managers, and Rule Administrator.
  • Requests will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
  • Exception requests which are granted will be for a specific period of time and will be documented.
  • The Determination issued by the Vice President of Research may be appealed in writing tthe Executive Vice President and Provost, who will issue a final decision after review of the written materials submitted by the requesting party and by the Vice President of Research.

 I have other questions. Whom do I contact?